Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘IMF

Thursday Links!

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* CFP: Edited collection on Welcome to Night Vale.

* More details on a very sad story: UCLA Student Shot Professor Over Grades Before Killing Himself, Say Police. UPDATE: The shooter was a PhD student.

* And for those who need it: some back-of-the-envelope calculations about your chances of being shot on campus.

St. Catharine College, in central Kentucky, will close its doors in July after 85 years of operation, its Board of Trustees announced on Wednesday.

Cornell breaks with other Ivies, sets path forward for grad student union.

* To obsessed water engineer Marc Edwards, the lead crisis in Flint is just the beginning of an epidemic.

* Some characteristics of successful teachers.

* Behind the scenes at Hamilton.

* Hitler as a human.

sub-buzz-23145-1464803668-3* All of man’s highest apirations are hubris in the eyes of the gods.

* Donald Trump, Maoist.

I have a number of other reasons for believing Trump’s alleged wealth is basically a fraud – not my own reporting but piecing together various details from the reporting of others and things that have happened during this campaign. But one point Cuban references is key. Trump hasn’t built a high-rise building in decades. He moved into licensing as his main business about fifteen or twenty years ago. If you’re worth $10 billion do you waste time on Trump Steaks? Trump University? Of course not. That speaks to someone who’s fairly strapped and needs every new revenue stream he can get. Still fabulously rich by mortal standards. But not running a thriving company worth $10 billion.

* Huge, if true: Race, Gender Biggest Differentiators in Views of Clinton, Trump.

At least five times in the past year, the candidate who is now the Republican nominee for president has implied that certain public officials are suspect, or are acting against the national interest, because they or their family members are Latino.

The results, the IMF researchers concede, have been terrible. Neoliberalism hasn’t delivered economic growth – it has only made a few people a lot better off. It causes epic crashes that leave behind human wreckage and cost billions to clean up, a finding with which most residents of food bank Britain would agree. And while George Osborne might justify austerity as “fixing the roof while the sun is shining”, the fund team defines it as “curbing the size of the state … another aspect of the neoliberal agenda”. And, they say, its costs “could be large – much larger than the benefit”.

Would It Be That Bad If the New Star Trek TV Series Was Set in the Reboot Universe? No true fan would even ask that.

Is Daenerys Targaryen the Real Villain of Game of Thrones?

* How old is your map?

* The Spider-Man 4 that never was.

* The end of Hellboy.

* For the completist, the cast of Hello from the Magic Tavern was on Improv Nerd recently and even did a little bit from Foon-30 (the dimension where Chunt is a wolverine).

* My new Plan B: Duo used stolen cash to buy winning $1M lottery ticket.

* And because you demanded it! Presenting the G.I. Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, ROM, Action Man, and M.A.S.K. (Mobile Armored Strike Kommand)) Shared Universe.

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It’s Been Much Too Long And Now There Are Much Too Many Links

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* Job ad (probably best for Midwest-located scholars): Visiting Assistant Professor of English (3 positions), Marquette University.

* There’s a new issue of SFFTV out, all about the Strugatskiis.

* CFP: Octavia E. Butler: Celebrating Letters, Life, and Legacy – February 26-28, 2016 – Spelman College.

* Episode 238 of the Coode Street Podcast: Kim Stanley Robinson and Aurora.

* The weird worlds of African sci-fi.

* Afrofuturism and Black Panther.

* To save California, read Dune.

* All episodes of I Was There Too are great, but last week’s Deadwood-themed episode was especially so.

* Jameson’s essay on Neuromancer from Polygraph 25 (and his new book The Ancients and the Postmoderns: On the Historicity of Formsis available at Public Books.

“My college has had five deans in the last 10 years. They want to make their mark. That’s fine, but the longer I’m in one place as a faculty chair, I see why faculty are cynical and jaded,” Dudley said. “Every time there is turnover, there is a new initiative. There is a new strategic plan. So many faculty are just at the point where they say ‘just leave us alone.’ “

Pomp and Construction: Colleges Go on a Building Tear.

6 Ways Campus Cops Are Becoming More Like Regular Police.

* Diversity and the Ivy Ceiling.

* What academic freedom is not.

7) Academic freedom is not a gratuitous entitlement for privileged faculty but essential in achieving societal progressivity. Those with academic freedom are more likely to produce higher quality research and effective teaching that benefits society, if not always the ruling elites. I frequently state in class: “If I am not free, you aren’t free! For me to do my job, I must speak freely and teach outside the lines to help you expand your frame of knowledge and question your world.” There may not be a” truth, however earnest the search, but the attempt to find it must be unfettered. Society spends billions of dollars on higher education, and the investment is more likely to reap dividends if revisionism, and not orthodoxy, prevails.

* Why Is It So Hard to Kill a College? Why do you sound so disappointed?

An LSU associate professor has been fired for using curse words and for telling the occasional sexually-themed joke to undergraduate students, creating what university administrators describe as a “hostile learning environment” that amounted to sexual harassment.

* Josh Marshall: Here’s an (fun in a surreal, macabre way) article about a recent example of how Twitter has dramatically increased the velocity at which bullshit is able to travel at sea level and at higher altitudes. In fact, the increase is so great that Twitter has become a self-contained, frictionless bullshit perpetual motion machine capable of making an episode like this possible. This is the story of Zandria Robinson, an African-American assistant professor of sociology at the University of Memphis who made some that were both genuinely outrageous and also a peerless example of jargony academic nonsense-speak, became a target of right-wing media and twitter-hounds, then got fired by the University of Memphis because of the controversy, thus making the University a target of left-wingers on Twitter and driving Twitter to cross-partisan paroxysms of outrage and self-congratulation. Except that she wasn’t fired and actually wasn’t even an employee of the University of Memphis in the first place. Thanks, Twitter.

Supreme Court to Consider Case That Could Upend Unions at Public Colleges.

* Adjuncting is not a career, TIAA-CREF edition.

Keywords for the Age of Austerity 19: Resilience.

* Fraternities, man, I don’t know.

* Right-wing SF and the Charleston attack.

* Fusion is mapping the monuments of the Confederacy. Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong.

* Tomorrow’s iconic photos today.

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* There’s a dark side to everything: the secret history of gay marriage.

* Andrew Sullivan’s victory lap.

* Gay rights in America, state by state (updated 26 June 2015).

* The Y2Gay Problem.

How do you tell a person to choose between having food to eat and getting married?

* When docents go rogue.

* When image recognition goes rogue.

Greece just defaulted, but the danger is only beginning.

* Puerto Rico and debt.

Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From the Public.

Let that sink in for a moment: “[C]ompanies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals….” And they can collect not just for lost property or seized assets; they can collect if laws or regulations interfere with these giant companies’ ability to collect what they claim are “expected future profits.”

* The Rise and Fall of LSD.

* How FIFA Ruined Soccer.

* Rape on the night shift.

* Self-driving cars and the coming pro-driving movement.

* Class and the professorate.

* “I’ve been a boy for three years and I was a girl for six.” Frontline on growing up trans.

* Why are colleges investing in prisons in the first place? Don’t answer that.

* The view from over there: 38 ways college students enjoy ‘Left-wing Privilege’ on campus.

How to Avoid Indoctrination at the Hands of ‘Your Liberal Professor.’

* Against students.

You Were Right. Whole Foods Is Ripping You Off.

* “You have the wrong body for ballet.”

* The toy manufacturing sublime.

* Barack Obama is officially one of the most consequential presidents in American history. I really don’t think going on WTF is that big a deal.

* What Went Wrong: Assessing Obama’s Legacy. [paywalled, sorry]

* Debating polygamy: aff and neg (and more).

Alex Hern decided not to do anything for a week – unless he’d read all the terms and conditions first. Seven days and 146,000 words later, what did he learn?

Philip K Dick’s only novel for children to be reissued in UK.

Postcapitalist Posthumans.

* Preschool justice.

* The World Without Work. The Hard Work of Taking Apart Post-Work Fantasy.

* The Sweatshop Feminists.

Keita “Katamari Damacy” Takahashi is still making the best games.

The Assassin Who Triggered WWI Just Got His Own Monument.

Every state flag is wrong, and here is why.

US military admits it carried out secret race-based experiments to test impact of mustard gas on US soldiers.

Don Featherstone, Inventor of the Pink Flamingo (in Plastic), Dies at 79.

* A people’s history of the Slinky.

* How to fix science.

J.K. Rowling Announces “Not a Prequel” Play About Harry Potter’s Parents. There’s just no way we’re not going to get an official “next generation” sequel series in the next few decades.

Court Affirms It’s Completely Legal To Swear Loudly At Police.

* Oh, but we have fun, don’t we?

* They’re making a sequel to Lucy, more or less just for me.

* Kotsko flashback: Marriage and meritocracy.

If in the Mad Men era the mark of success was the ability to essentially ignore one’s family while enjoying access to a wide range of sexual experiences, now the situation has reversed: monogamy and devotion are the symbol of success. And the reason this can make sense as a symbol of elite arrival is that the trappings of a bourgeois nuclear family can no longer be taken for granted as they were in the postwar heyday of the “traditional family” — they are the exception rather than the norm. In the lower and working classes, successful marriages are increasingly difficult to sustain amid the strain and upheaval that comes from uncertain employment and financial prospects (a problem that is compounded by the systematic criminalization of young men in minority communities). While marriage is still a widely-shared goal, the situation now is similar to that with college: a relatively small elite get to really enjoy its benefits, while a growing number of aspirants are burdened with significant costs (student debt, the costs of divorce) without much to show for it.

I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery.

* When police kill the mentally ill.

* Despair bears

A broken bail system makes poor defendants collateral damage in modern policing strategies.

Drug cops took a college kid’s savings and now 13 police departments want a cut.

The 20 Best Lines From the Supreme Court Dissent Calling to End the Death Penalty.

* Inside Rikers Island.

Someone is turning the Saved By The Bell Wiki into a thing of beauty.

* Dystopia now: “Predictive Policing.” You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church. Air pollution and dementia. Rivers of death. The dark future of ‘Advantageous’: What happens when the difference between child-rearing and job training collapses?

* Plus, there’s this creepy shit.

* If you want a vision of the future, imagine Abramsverse Star Trek sequels, forever.

* No one else apply for this.

* And they said my English major would never be useful.

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Written by gerrycanavan

July 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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NYE Links!

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* Finally, my moment has arrived: Smuggling LEGO is the new smuggling diamonds.

The New Brand of Jesuit Universities.

* On Optimism: Looking Ahead to 2015.

* From climate denialism to climate cashing-in with nothing in between. Are We Approaching the End of Human History?

Thanks to energy drilling operations, northern New Mexico is now covered by “a permanent, Delaware-sized methane cloud.”

* Serial, episode thirteen: 1, 2, 3 coming today or tomorrow I think. A sort-of out-there blog post on what it could all mean: The Serial Podcast: The Possible Legal Implications of Jay’s Interview for Jay & Adnan.

UI Chancellor Responds To Salaita Report. This is actually a fairly significant walk-back of Wise’s position — I think she’s actually more progressive on academic freedom than Cary Nelson now — though since she’s still pretending Salaita wasn’t actually hired it doesn’t do much good for him.

Professors are teaching less while administrators proliferate. Let’s find out how all that tuition is being spent. Colleges Need a Business Productivity Audit. Of course the actual text of the article zeroes in on instruction first, which is not the source of the problem…

* It’s the original sin of college football, and you’ll never guess what it is. In Harbaugh hire, excessive pay would send wrong message. How one former coach perpetuated a cheating scheme that benefited hundreds of college athletes. Shut down middling college football programs and shift the money back to instruction.

* The arc of history is long, but: New Michigan Law Bars College Athletes From Unionizing.

* Another angle on the growing Title IX mess: Mothers of accused college rapists fight back.

Rise of the Simulations: Why We Play At Hard Work.

* Brent Bellamy reviews Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway’s The Collapse of Western Civilization.

* 538 profiles the best damn board game on the planet, Twilight Struggle.

* Really interesting idea from Bleeding Cool about what might be happening with Marvel’s sliding timescale. I could honestly see them doing this, or something like it, at least until they start getting some rights back.

Profit from Crisis: Why capitalists do not want recovery, and what that means for America.

Anthropology and the rise of the professional-managerial class.

Is Wisconsin destined to be a Rust Belt backwater?

Why Idris Elba Can’t Play James Bond.

* Seriously, though, sometimes you can’t just switch the skin tones and have the story turn out the same.

* Brands saying “Bae.”

Seven ‘great’ teaching methods not backed up by evidence.

.* BREAKING: Twitter Reaction to Events Often at Odds with Overall Public Opinion.

* Counterpoint: Black and African writers don’t need instructions from Ben Okri.

* To Discipline and Punish: Milwaukee Police Make Late Night Visits.

* I say teach the controversy: Kids and Jails, a Bad Combination.

High School Basketball Team Banned From Tournament Over ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts.

* This Deadspin piece has really made me regret softening my anti-Vox stance in recent months.

* Sounds like the Afghanistan war has ended again. This is #3 or #4 at least, right?

* How to destroy a city: just build a highway.

* The CDC is saying we’re all going to get the flu.

* And as if the IMF wasn’t bad enough.

“Why should the legality of a sale of secrecy depend entirely upon who initiates the transaction? Why is bribery legal but blackmail not?”

* Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People.

No Charges for Police Chief Who Used Badge to Try and Intimidate Teen into Posing Nude.

* …but believe it or not it is possible for a cop to get fired over a fatal shooting.

LAPD Launches Investigation Into ‘Dead, Dead Michael Brown’ Song Sung at Retired Cop’s Party.

The labor movement should rally against police violence, whether police unions like it or not. I think we should let this whole work stoppage thing play out personally.

* Emails and Racist Chats Show How Cops and GOP Are Teaming Up to Undermine de Blasio. The headline actually undersells the severity of a story where they talk about planting drugs on his daughter.

Horrifying civil liberties predictions for 2015.

* Elsewhere in the richest city in the richest nation ever in the history of the world.

Military Turns To Prison Labor For $100 Million In Uniforms — At $2-Per-Hour Wages.

What Stalled the Gender Revolution? Child Care That Costs More Than College Tuition.

* North Dakota to eliminate taxes because fracking fracking fracking forever fracking. What could go wrong?

* Real life Alien vs. Predator: Cuomo vs. the New York State Legislature.

But Cuomo has insisted he would agree to a pay hike only if the Legislature addressed a long series of criminal and ethical charges against many of its members by passing several reforms, such as a limit on outside incomes earned by lawmakers and a system of publicly financed campaigns.

The legislative leaders, however, responded that Cuomo was making demands he knew were unacceptable in a politically motivated effort to appear as a reformer because he’s under federal investigation for dismantling his anti-corruption Moreland Commission panel.

“Before we did this study, it was certainly my view that the dark net is a good thing.”

* Streetcars, maybe not so great?

* Heartbreaking story of a trans teen’s suicide, based on a suicide note that went viral. Now go hug your kid.

* Exciting new pioneers in research:

A Few Goodmen: Surname-Sharing Economist Coauthors
ALLEN C. GOODMAN (Wayne State University)
JOSHUA GOODMAN (Harvard University)
LUCAS GOODMAN (University of Maryland)
SARENA GOODMAN (Federal Reserve Board)

We explore the phenomenon of coauthorship by economists who share a surname. Prior research has included at most three economist coauthors who share a surname. Ours is the first paper to have four economist coauthors who share a surname, as well as the first where such coauthors are unrelated by marriage, blood or current campus.

* Company selling brain poison offers free public transportation on Brain Poison Day to prevent brain-poison-related driving mishaps.

* Bat-Kierkegaard: The Dark Knight of Faith.

* Want to feel old? This Is What the Cast of Doug Looks Like Now.

* For its first Star Wars spinoff Disney has selected the impossible task of recasting Harrison Ford. They chose… poorly.

* Austerity in everything: Science proves once-in-a-lifetime moments will just make you more depressed.

* And there’s more! You’re more likely to die on your birthday.

Living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide.

* “Deputies said the shooting appears accidental”: Idaho toddler shoots and kills his mother inside Walmart.

* Wake up, sheeple! Back to the Future predicted 9/11.

* From io9Physics students at the University of Leicester claim to have calculated the amount of energy required to transform water into wine.

* Speaking in front of a white supremacist organization is what I did, but it’s not who I am. Those aren’t the values in my heart.

Celebrities That Look Like Mattresses.

* And I guess I always knew I’d die on a roller coaster.

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 31, 2014 at 7:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Avoid Your Family with This Very Special Thanksgiving Edition of Thursday Links

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* America’s Founding Myths.

* 100 New Debate Topics You and Your Uncle Can Turn into an Argument about Republicans.

* Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Ferguson. Police violence. Ferguson. America. Ferguson. Turkey pardons. Ferguson. New York. Cleveland. Cleveland. Utah. Everywhere. Everywhere.

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Winners are mad when winning lights the shadows.

Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing.

We should get rid of local policing. Ferguson shows why the system just doesn’t work.

* All my heroes are monsters.

* Rescind Cosby’s honorary doctorates?

* “Suicide Is My Retirement Plan.”

An expert hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) argued in court that a 9-year-old girl seeking damages after she was sexually assaulted would be protected from emotional stress by her low IQ.

* It’s almost as if the profit motive and what’s best for our schools and students are not well aligned!

Accumulation by Lockout.

* 41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes.

* While Detroit contended with largest municipal bankruptcy, its lawyers were robbing it blind.

* Tyler Cowen, for one, welcomes the hyper-meritocracy.

* Anthropology as white public space.

* In praise of Lovecraft.

* The Downside of the Boom.

* Here’s the guy who wants to run to Hillary Clinton’s left. Democrats! Catch the fever.

* While he wasn’t second in command of the United States nuclear arsenal, Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina not only had a 15 hour a week gambling habit he also may have had a one-man poker chip counterfeiting operation in which he used paint and stickers to make $1 poker chips into $500 poker chips. This led to repeated bans from local casinos, eventually a lifetime ban and finally his nuclear weapons were taken away.

* What is your research agenda for the coming year?

* Just another Afrofuturism megapost.

* Town Bans Winnie The Pooh For Lack of Genitals, “Dubious Sexuality.” Finally, someone said it.

* At some point this guy took a moment and smiled to himself, secure in the knowledge that he’d covered all his bases.

SDSU suspends all frat activities after members wave dildos, throw eggs at rape protesters.

UVA has expelled 183 students for honor code violations — and none for sexual assault.

End Fraternities.

* Alexey Pajitnov, hero, creator of Tetris.

Frederik Pohl Made Doing Literally Everything Look Easy.

* Strange Horizons reprints Darko Suvin’s “Estrangement and Cognition,” with a 2014 postscript.

All of us on the planet Earth live in highly endangered times. Perhaps the richer among us, up to 5% globally but disproportionately concentrated in the trilateral U.S.A.-western Europe-Japan and its appendages, have been cushioned from realizing it by the power of money and the self-serving ideology it erects. But even those complain loudly of the “criminality” and in general “moral decay” of the desperately vicious outside their increasingly fortress-like neighbourhoods. We live morally in an almost complete dystopia—dystopia because anti-utopia—and materially (economically) on the razor’s edge of collapse, distributive and collective.

In a look backwards to my writing of the 1960s from this most endangered cusp of history, I see a main limitation to my “Poetics of SF” essay in its innocently and naively Formalist horizon. That is, I presupposed the tide of history was flowing, even if with regrettable eddies, towards socialism or democratic communism, and concentrated on the problems of understanding, pleasure, and form within that tide. Thus I seem to have felt I could freeze or even freeze out history, as all pursuits of aesthetics do: transcending the moment. I was wrong.

* The official SF short film of the Thanksgiving holiday: Survivors Of A Nuclear War Find A Secret Bunker—But There’s A Catch

* Maybe the most twenty-first-century artifact possible: ‘Sunburn!’, A Gravity-Based Puzzle Video Game Featuring a Doomed Spaceship Crew That Is Determined to Die Together.

* Cli-Fi Is Real.

The good news: There is no substantial technical or economic barrier that would prevent the U.S. from reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, a target that would help put the world on track to limit global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. In fact, there are multiple pathways to that target, each involving a different mix of technologies. Achieving the goal would cost only around 1 percent of GDP a year out through 2050, and if we started now, we could allow infrastructure to turn over at its natural rate, avoiding stranded assets. The bad news: Pulling it off would require immediate, intelligent, coordinated, vigorously executed policies that sustain themselves over decades.

Trotsky at the IMF.

* LEGO is dead, long live LEGO.

* But really, do they know.

* Guys, it’s not all bad news: After The Sun Incinerates Earth, Life Could Evolve On Titan.

* And this blog’s most sacred annual tradition: William S. Burroughs – A Thanksgiving Prayer.

Sunday Links!

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* “Are your parents upset by your liberal-arts degree? Show them this chart.”

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* Weird, wild coincidence: Darren Wilson’s first job was on a troubled police force disbanded by authorities.

* Exactly the headline you want to wake up to when you’ve got a transatlantic flight in a few hours: Eruption under ice-cap sparks red alert. Luckily I seem to have snuck out of Europe in time…

* If they don’t shape up soon they could have a blue-ribbon commission on their hands: Jolted by images of protesters clashing with heavily armed police officers in Missouri, President Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the government’s decade-old strategy of outfitting local police departmentswith military-grade body armor, mine-resistant trucks, silencers and automatic rifles, senior officials say.

* Ferguson’s Schools Are Just as Troubling as Its Police Force. Of course the wealth transfer dreams behind “school choice” politics miraculously get “waived” when it comes time to apply it to nonwhite and urban poor populations:

Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School, which was located, until recently, in the Normandy School District. The facts here are a bit complex, but note that I said “until recently.”  That is because the Normandy School district lost its accreditation in 2012 due to dismal standardized test scores. (Normandy was one of only three out of 500 school districts in Missouri to lose its accreditation.) The state school board took over the Normandy School District and renamed it the “Normandy School Collaborative.” By 2013, though, the new district also had lost its accreditation. Missouri law allows students of failed districts to transfer to higher-performing schools in surrounding suburbs, but the failing school district has to pay tuition and transportation costs to get the kids to their new schools. The 1,000 transfer students of Normandy obviously had no desire to remain in the “new” failed district, but the cost was high, so, incredibly, the state board voted to waive accreditation of the Collaborative rather than classify the new district as unaccredited. Ferguson’s teenagers were therefore trapped in a failed school because state politicians didn’t want to pay for them to transfer out.

* ‘Normal birth’ and ‘breast is best’: the neoliberalisation of reproduction.

* Mugabe and the hedge funds.

* Pay It Forward is dead in Oregon.

* ‘Sex Box,’ a reality show where people have sex in a box on TV, is a real thing for 2015.

How Do We Get Our Students to Become Cops?, asks the Chronicle. How? How?

* Cornel West vs. Obama.

* This Soviet spy created the US-led global economic system.

* Where were the people who live in your state born?

* And Massachusetts man fears his horns, ’666′ forehead tattoo will make a fair trial impossible.

‘We Are Here Today to Say That We Are Not Economic Units Whose Only Function Is to Behave Ourselves and to Pay Off the Gambling Debts of Our Masters’

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Written by gerrycanavan

November 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Links from the Weekend

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* Slate devotes a column to criticizing the U.S. military-based approach to Haitian emergency relief. There’s some attempts at push-back, with varying success, in the MetaFilter thread, particularly about the specifically helpful capacities of the ships that have been sent there, but what can you say about facts like these:

Air-traffic control in the Haitian capital was outsourced to an Air Force base in Florida, which, not surprisingly, gave priority to its own pilots. While the military flew in troops and equipment, planes bearing supplies for the Red Cross, the World Food Program, and Doctors Without Borders were rerouted to Santo Domingo in neighboring Dominican Republic. Aid flights from Mexico, Russia, and France were refused permission to land. On Monday, the British Daily Telegraph reported, the French minister in charge of humanitarian aid admitted he had been involved in a “scuffle” with a U.S. commander in the airport’s control tower. According to the Telegraph, it took the intervention of the United Nations for the United States to agree to prioritize humanitarian flights over military deliveries.

Meanwhile, much of the aid that was arriving remained at the airport. Haitians watched American helicopters fly over the capital, commanding and controlling, but no aid at all was being distributed in most of the city. On Tuesday, a doctor at a field hospital within site of the runways complained that five to 10 patients were dying each day for lack of the most basic medical necessities. “We can look at the supplies sitting there,” Alphonse Edward told Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The much-feared descent into anarchy stubbornly refused to materialize. “It is calm at this time,” Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, admitted to the AP on Monday. “Those who live and work here … tell me that the level of violence that we see right now is below pre-earthquake levels.” He announced that four—four, in a city of more than 2 million—aid-distribution points had been set up on the sixth day of the crisis.

* Some good news: the IMF claims it is “pursuing” the total elimination of Haiti’s foreign debt. And some terrible news: by one estimate (highlighted by Marginal Revolution) a full 8% of Haiti’s population may be orphaned children.

* 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Pinball History.

* From the comments: The Five Dials tribute to David Foster Wallace.

* David’s Cross’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret has been picked up by the BBC. My friend Bill posted a clip from the pilot not long ago, which he played at his recent show at Raleigh.

* Fan art gone terribly wrong/terribly right: Seinfeld Star Wars.

* Auto-appendectomy in the Antarctic: a case report. (Thanks Neil!)

* Via Ezra Klein, I see Tom Toles has somehow gotten hold of the Democratic playbook.

* Glenn Greenwald has a balanced piece largely in favor of the Citizens United v. FEC. Others are saying this decision may give foreign multinational corporations the right to participate in the American political process. Citizens United is by all appearances the first major domestic political crisis of the ’10s, and it came early; if I had sway in the progressive blogosphere I would suggest we devote ourselves to demanding the introduction of a constitutional amendment that reverses this decision by modifying or eliminating corporate personhood. That fight would not be easy—as Matt points out the total spending on Senate campaigns in 2004, $400 million, was just 17% of the marketing budget of a single American bank, which means our already corporatist ruling class would have every possible incentive to ignore such a campaign—but I don’t see much choice; it’s hard to imagine any sort of functional democracy existing in America while Citizens United remains in full effect.

* Republicans believe that Obama’s problem is that he’s pushing so much government intervention in the economy. That’s undoubtedly part of the story. But Obama’s larger difficulty is that he’s pushing so much change at a time when filibuster threats are so common that it requires 60 Senate votes to pass almost everything — and the minority party won’t provide the president votes on almost anything. We are operating in what amounts to a parliamentary system without majority rule, a formula for futility. Steve Benen has a post on the filibuster reform recently proposed by Tom Harkin here.

* Are Republicans “irrationally exuberant” about November? God, I hope so.

* For what it’s worth Obama’s poll numbers continue to match Reagan’s, and he beats nearly all comers in 2012. The one possible exception is the affable, if politically odious, Mike Huckabee, who beats Obama 45-44 in a PPP poll. And it was Huckabee himself who predicted just this week Obama will win again in 2012.

* NASA says 2000-2009 was the hottest decade on record. Good thing climate change is a myth.

* The immortal Neil Gaiman is profiled in the New Yorker.

* The last days of Philip K. Dick.

* And if my estimates are correct, we could hit Peak Crayola as soon as 2018.