Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Poli-Sci-Fi Radio

Sunday Night Links with Yoda, Clark Kent, and Banksy

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Voyager 2 Hacked by Aliens!

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Read between the lines here. Via Alex C in today’s PSFR chat.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Benen for President

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Wise observers agree that health care reform might not have happened without the tireless work of my friend Steve Benen.

But I’d like to single out one person who deserves more praise than he’s going to claim or is likely to get: Steve Benen himself.  After Scott Brown won, Democrats’ first reaction was panic.  The analogy most often drawn, though it in retrospect seems deranged to compare the loss of a Senate super-majority to the loss of both Houses, was to Clinton’s situation, and his reaction, after the Republican victories of 1994.  Steve stepped in on January 20—just a day after Coakley’s loss, a full week before the State of the Union—with an alternative: “pass the damn bill,” and then amend it via reconciliation.  I believe he invented the slogan, though Kevin Drum picked it up a few hours later.  I know that he flogged it, immediately, relentlessly and repeatedly, through good news and bad: see, for example, herehereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere, andhere.  It became proverbial.  It became the popular title—and, thanks to alert fans, the easy-to-remember URL—of Steve’s pithy, powerful strategy memo making the case for moving forward.  It cemented Democratic opinion around the idea that failure was not an option—and, more important, that incremental reform counted as failure.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

Two Brushes with Greatness

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* The 100th episode of the Poli-Sci-Fi Radio podcast is now online, with visits from Rachel Maddow, Matt Yglesias, Brian Wood, and Casey MacKinnon as well as yours truly. The Rachel Maddow interview (beginning at 42:50) is in particular extremely cool, with Rachel talking not just about her favorite comics but also why she doesn’t wear her awesome glasses on MSNBC and even (yes) what sort of tree she would be if she could be any tree. Her answer to this, like everything else about her, is awesome.

* Another brush with greatness: I saw a screening of The Yes Men Fix the World at Duke tonight with the actual Yes Men themselves in attendance. As promised by The House Next Door’s review from a few months ago, the film is indeed everything Capitalism: A Love Story should have been but wasn’t. (These were, in fact, the first words Jaimee said to me as we left the theater. She is wise.)

Friday Friday Night Night

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* Fox News: Don’t send your kids to college because they could catch the libralz. But if you do at least they won’t be as dumb as 30% of Texans.

* One Million Ways to Die.

* Stories to watch: activists may actually manage to bring the public option back from the death. Reid himself signaled he’s open to the idea today. Ezra Klein explains the politics at work:

No one I’ve spoken to — even when they support the public option — thinks that its reemergence is good news for health-care reform. It won’t be present in the package that the White House will unveil Monday. Everyone seems to be hoping this bubble will be short-lived.

But it might not be. The media is talking about it, liberals are organizing around it, none of the major actors feels politically capable of playing executioner, and Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson don’t have the power to do the job on their own. As of now, the strategy only has 20 or so supporters, and it’ll need at least another 20 or 25 to really be viable. But if it gets there, White House and Senate leadership are going to have some hard calls to make.

Ezra also says that as long as we’re playing make-believe it should be the Medicare buy-in we bring back.

* Rachel bestows unto Meet the Press another Maddow Bump. Will she do the same when she improbably shares a bill with me on Poli-Sci-Fi Radio this Sunday?

* I can’t help it: I love to see Wil Wheaton and William Shatner get work.

* Breaking: rich people are rich, pay no taxes.

* Iain M. Banks, Please Destroy The Culture! Via io9.

* Flowchart of the day: Does Tiger Woods owe you an apology?

* And Gynomite dramatically underestimates my level of interest in the penny’s new design. Coming Monday, my new blog, bringbacktheoldpenny.blogspot.com…

What Philosophers Believe

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The PhilPapers Survey was a survey of professional philosophers and others on their philosophical views, carried out in November 2009. The Survey was taken by 3226 respondents, including 1803 philosophy faculty members and/or PhDs and 829 philosophy graduate students. This has both a survey and a metasurvey that asked a smaller group to predict the results of the original survey. Shockingly, a full 69% percent of philosophers get the teleporter problem wrong:

Teletransporter (new matter): survival or death?

Accept or lean toward: survival 337 / 931 (36.1%)
Other 304 / 931 (32.6%)
Accept or lean toward: death 290 / 931 (31.1%)

The consequentialist approach to the trolley problem turns out to have become hegemonic.

Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch or don’t switch?

Accept or lean toward: switch 635 / 931 (68.2%)
Other 225 / 931 (24.1%)
Accept or lean toward: don’t switch 71 / 931 (7.6%)

Also interesting: pluralities believe philosophical zombies are conceivable but not metaphysically possible (I concur) and rejects the terms of Newcomb’s Paradox (not sure what this can mean in practice). 73% are atheists.

All this and more via MeFi.

Single Payer

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I learned on Poli-Sci-Fi Radio this week that the Canadian single-payer health-care system came about after its successful adoption in a single province, Saskatchewan. It’s this fact of history that makes me think progressives should be directing much more money and support to groups like the single-payer movement in California, organized around support for SB 810.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 28, 2009 at 5:25 pm