Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Osama bin Laden

Saturday Night Links

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* The Guardian has a large special section on SF this weekend, of which the Iain Banks piece I linked yesterday was only a taste.

* Popular in my Facebook newsfeed this weekend: Scientists cure cancer, but not capitalism. (Update: see the comments for some debunking.)

* Another must-read post from zunguzungu about the intergenerational war on higher ed.

Did California college students and parents suddenly and abruptly get exuberantly irrational about higher education starting in 1980? Or did Californians simply pass Proposition 13 in 1978, permanently destroying California’s ability to raise the tax revenues necessary to support itself? I think the latter is actually pretty much the whole story. After 1978, the state’s tax base went down substantially, so less money was available for public universities, and so tuition prices went up. This was the choice that was made, and we are now seeing its completely predictable and rational consequences: to pay for a sizable decrease in property taxes, the state of California has dismantled what was once the greatest and most egalitarian system of public higher education in the world. To put it another way, the price of giving tax breaks to people who are wealthy enough to benefit from lower property taxes has meant that the nearly-free education that primarily poor and middle class families were once able to take advantage of, now, is mostly gone.

* Five signs your Republican governor wants to be president. Early detection is the best protection.

* Disney Trademarks “Seal Team 6.″ This will be adorable.

* And Huck says no. Why, Huck, why?

Thursday Night Links

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Tuesday Links – 2

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* Nate Silver sets out to quantify the electoral impact of killing bin Laden.

* Ezra Klein with the latest on health care reform and the courts.

* Krugman: So, let’s get this right: the adults are the people who, bad manners aside, don’t know the first thing about the programs they’re so eager to dismantle. And we’re supposed to take their advice because they’re wise men, don’t you know.

* Elitot Spitzer on the Republican war against the weak.

* And Roger Ebert weighs in on the class war.

If it is “socialist” to believe in a more equal distribution of income, what is the word for the system we now live under? A system under which the very rich have doubled their share of the nation’s income in 25 years? I believe in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Isn’t that an American credo? How did it get twisted around into an obscene wage for shameless plunder?

Tuesday Links

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* How—and why—writers’ papers end up in British and American libraries.

* The Guardian loves China Miéville and radical SF.

* Creeping cowboyism: White House Tells Media It Was Ready to Risk War with Pakistan. We can take comfort I suppose in the fact that this is 99% bluster; full-on war with Pakistan was not a likely outcome of the raid. There’s more from TPM, where Josh Marshall speculates there could actually be some meat to this.

* Obama to pick a fight on immigration reform.

* Could Democrats retake the House in 2012?

* Almost forgot to link to this amusing, time-travel-flavored Tom Tomorrow cartoon.

* And a trip inside Mike Huckabee’s brain.

Huckabee has joked that he “answers” to “two Janets.” One is his wife, Janet Huckabee. The other is Janet Porter, the onetime co-chair of Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition. And Porter, the former governor has said, is his “prophetic voice.” But that voice has said some weird things over the years: Porter has maintained that Obama represents an “inhumane, sick, and sinister evil,” and she has warned that Democrats want to throw Christians in jail merely for practicing their faith. She’s attributed Haiti’s high poverty rate to the fact that the country is “dedicated to Satan,” and she suggested that gay marriage caused Noah’s Flood. And there’s this: In a 2009 column for conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Porter asserted that President Barack Obama is a Soviet secret agent, groomed since birth to destroy the United States from within.

Saturday Links

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* Unpopular opinions, number one: Yes, colleges should absolutely ban fraternities. I feel certain that at many schools donor flight is the only thing keeping the frats open.

* Unpopular opinions, number two: I think Campos and Chomsky are assuming facts not in evidence when they assert that bin Laden was targeted for assassination rather than killed while resisting arrest. There have been multiple contradictory reports of what exactly happened in the compound, and second-guessing the SEALs at this point seems really premature and ill-advised. Chomsky’s piece in particular is pretty terrible; it comes shockingly close to Trutherism in its opening paragraphs and completely elides the important legal distinction between state violence and terrorist violence in its middle. Only the last paragraphs provide something approaching a useful comment on the bin Laden arrest:

Same with the name, Operation Geronimo. The imperial mentality is so profound, throughout western society, that no one can perceive that they are glorifying bin Laden by identifying him with courageous resistance against genocidal invaders. It’s like naming our murder weapons after victims of our crimes: Apache, Tomahawk… It’s as if the Luftwaffe were to call its fighter planes “Jew” and “Gypsy.”

* BREAKING: Obama bans the American flag! It’s exhausting to try and dialogue with people this stupid.

* Judge Gives Immigrant in Same-Sex Marriage a Reprieve From Deportation. According to my Facebook feed this is the first time this has been granted. Very promising sign.

* And Huckabee speaks the truth: St. Ronald himself couldn’t win the Republican nomination today.

It Wasn’t Torture

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The New York Times debunks the nascent “torture works” meme.

But a closer look at prisoner interrogations suggests that the harsh techniques played a small role at most in identifying Bin Laden’s trusted courier and exposing his hide-out. One detainee who apparently was subjected to some tough treatment provided a crucial description of the courier, according to current and former officials briefed on the interrogations. But two prisoners who underwent some of the harshest treatment — including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times — repeatedly misled their interrogators about the courier’s identity.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Tuesday Night Links

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* Closing Pandora’s Box: Obama should use Osama Bin Laden’s death to declare victory and end the legal war on terror.

* The right is already embracing deatherism.

* The snap polls are mixed in the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s killing, but Steve Benen and Josh Marshall seem right (and Ezra Klein needlessly paranoid). Here’s Josh:

The Republican critique of the president has been that he’s a hesitant and vacillating figure, one who fundamentally misunderstands the nature of power politics and the threats the country faces. In the days just before bin Laden’s death, commentators on the right were having fun with a line from one of Obama’s advisors that on Libya Obama was “leading from behind.” Indeed, that looked to be the one-liner the Republicans planned to use to capture or bumper-stickerize their broader critique of the president’s foreign policy.

But that critique, regardless of its merits, simply doesn’t fit with what we know about how this operation unfolded. Whatever gilding of the lily may have happened on the margins, we know with some confidence that the president was presented with three choices: bomb the compound from the air, send in a commando team or wait for more evidence that bin Laden was there.

His advisors were split, with some supporting each option. But Obama himself opted for the most aggressive and riskiest option. And it worked. That simply doesn’t sound like the caricature Republicans have been trying to paint. It simply doesn’t. And presidents, inevitably, are judged both by results and results that are intuitively graspable and simple to understand. Here both measures apply.

* Meanwhile, William J. Dobson declares final escape from the Carter gravity well.

* If all that’s not full-throatedly partisan enough for you, have this:

President Obama revealed the entire Bush team to be the incompetents and dolts we always knew they were, and in doing so single-handedly destroyed the myth that Democrats are soft on national security. What will Republicans do with that?

Already, the Republican Party, with miserable choad Andrew Breitbart in the lead, is showing signs that it doesn’t believe Bin Laden is dead. These “deathers”—most of whom were probably birthers just over a week ago—are symptoms of a deep-seated rot in the Republican Party. They are people committed to gut feelings and scare tactics over facts. The real reason George W. Bush was so uninterested in catching Osama bin Laden was because the Qaeda leader was a useful concept for conservatives, a fright mask to slip on when the American people needed to be put back in their place. Dick Cheney wore the Bin Laden mask at every opportunity, hinting at secret disasters that were always right around the corner if Democrats ever took a leading role in government again. Bush would tell spooky Bin Laden stories to get what he wanted from the American people. So now Republicans are trying to dig Bin Laden out of the grave and wheel his corpse around, Weekend at Bernie’s–style. It’s the only trick they have left.

* Canadian election news: the conservatives win a majority, but an apparent structural shift to the NDP seems promising in the long-term. How a couple of college kids got elected to Parliament. More from TPM.

* And in education news: Kevin Drum reports on the education reform backlash, with a bit more in the New York Times from David Eggers and Ninive Clements Calegari.