Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘populism

Thursday Night Links!

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(Slight format change: with the return to teaching, increased professional responsibilities, and my kids getting older [too fast!] I’m having real trouble keeping up with the level of linkblogging I’ve previously done. I’m not hanging up the blog, quite yet, but it’s definitely going to continue to be more irregular and more tightly focused on stuff I find particularly interesting and/or might someday need for research. Sorry! Please simply take it as read that Trump sucks, everything he does sucks, and everyone who supports him sucks.)

* This week I have a review of John Scalzi’s newest book, The Collapsing Empire, up at LARB: “No, Speed Limit.” Buy it! It’s good!

* For the more academic minded among you I’ve also got a review of Anthony Lioi’s Nerd Ecology up at ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. I tweeted an excerpt from it too not long ago:

* Must have: Monograph by Chris Ware.

* Humanitarian catastrophe in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans are living climate change right now. Here’s how they describe it. He rattled off a list of what he could not find: bottles of water, gas canisters to light stoves, food.

* Isle of Dogs looking like a strong contender for the first Wes Anderson movie I don’t like.

* Harrowing read: Student survives three days in a cave after college spelunking group leaves him behind.

* Futurism’s blind spot.

* Revolutionary Possibility: Henry Farrell on China Miéville’s October.

* Farah Mendlesohn is crowdfunding her Robert Heinlein book, which proved too long for its original publisher.

* Great review of the (excellent) Star Trek: Discovery pilot from Aaron Body at LARB. I’m very pleased, and a little shocked, by how good it is! Star Trek Spec Scripts That Never Saw the Light of Day. And yes, of course it is.

Humanities, universities and sustainability. Facing poverty, academics turn to sex work and sleeping in cars. And doing my part: Amid Professors’ ‘Doom-and-Gloom Talk,’ Humanities Ph.D. Applications Drop.

From a public relations perspective, accepting the terms of a right-wing narrative about supposedly illiberal campuses by bending over backwards to subsidize an already well-financed right-wing assault on the university may do more to confirm the erroneous claims of that narrative than to change them. That narrative has become a crucial element in the arsenal of weapons used to attack our democracy. Make no mistake: the groups that attacktransgender people, Muslims, people of color, women, legal immigrants as well as undocumented students, are also those that attack science, and feel no obligation to hold their views to academic standards of evidence or coherence. We, therefore, urge the administration to creatively and courageously confront the way free speech is being deployed against our academic freedom, and—in deciding what can take place on our campus — to prioritize the conditions that enable teaching and research.

* Meanwhile, across campus. How Much Is Your College Football Team Worth?

* The nightmare state of Thomas the Tank Engine.

Democrats, for all their self-conception as architects of a progressing world, possess no such singular purpose. Their plan, even when they are in office, consists largely of defending the paltry welfare state already in place against the vastly more disciplined forces of reaction. Their ambition — when they have the opportunity to realize one — is just to tweak. Sometimes they tweak for the better. Sometimes they call their tweaking “welfare reform.”

* The Senate’s Military Spending Increase Alone Is Enough to Make Public College Free. Forever and ever amen.

* centrism.biz.

* How She Lost.

* Wendy Brown on apocalyptic populism.

* Head Geek Is Head Creep.

War With North Korea Starts to Look Inevitable.

* The Madness of Donald Trump.

We’re not going to fix American democracy until we can explain why the GOP went crazy.

The Resegregation of Jefferson County.

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (But Don’t Know It).

* No rights which the white man was bound to respect.

The latest way tech companies have promoted their questionable self-image as the antithesis of old, evil corporations has been to open their offices not to unions, but to dogs. Capitalism with a Fluffy Face.

* Nice work if you can get it.

ICE violates own policy by locking up pregnant women, complaint alleges. ICE Is Using Prostitution Diversion Courts to Stalk Immigrants. The American citizens illegally detained by ICE. Immigrant taken by ICE from Austin courthouse was killed in Mexico. Undocumented Parents Arrested at Children’s Hospital While Awaiting Their Infant Son’s Surgery. Two Women Say They Lost Pregnancies In Immigrant Detention Since July. Government policies funneling illegal immigrants into more dangerous crossing areas have contributed to fatalities. A cancer patient desperately needs a stem-cell transplant. But the U.S. won’t grant the donor a visa. ICE attacks sanctuary cities, arrests 450.

Trump Administration Rejects Study Showing Positive Impact of Refugees.

Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan: Converting into private schools — and using voucher programs to thrive on the public dime.

* In the richest country in human history.

By age 3, inequality is clear: Rich kids attend school. Poor kids stay with a grandparent.

According to a Department of Education report, black students nationally were three times more likely to be suspended than whites in 2012. Suspensions occur most commonly in secondary schools, but black children were more than twice as likely to be suspended from preschool as well.

* When that day comes, Anthony Levandowski will be firmly on the side of the machines. In September 2015, the multi-millionaire engineer at the heart of the patent and trade secrets lawsuit between Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car company, founded a religious organization called Way of the Future. Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”

* Today’s don’t-say-climate-change term of art: mega-heat dome. Australia’s record-breaking winter beats average highs by 2C, Climate Council says.

Although the uncertainty of each prediction in Fig. 4 is considerable, all scenarios for cumulative uptake at the century’s end either exceed or are commensurate with the threshold for catastrophic change.

One of the clearest signs of climate change in Hurricanes Maria, Irma, and Harvey was the rain.

* What would a flood-proof city look like?

* When Bad DNA Tests Lead to False Convictions.

What happens after a defendant is found not guilty by reason of insanity? Often the answer is involuntary confinement in a state psychiatric hospital—with no end in sight.

* Notes towards a trans reading of Severus Snape.

Gerrymandering on Trial.

* The New York Times reviews N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy.

* Jordan Peele gets it.

* The secret history of Dune.

* A people’s history of Dunkin Donuts.

Sci-Fi Roots of the Far Right—From ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ to Newt’s Moon Base to Donald’s Wall.

* It’s officially too late to save Title IX.

* You had me at hello: Each successive video takes on a new video game and goes into incredibly granular detail on the speed-running history associated with it.

* Your time-travel short of the moment: Cradle.

* Is the Pope Catholic?

* This is a beautiful thing.

Up Against the Centerfold: What It Was Like to Report on Feminism for Playboy in 1969.

* And finally a reason to start drinking: Arcade games return to Milwaukee bars.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Friday Morning!

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* Trump White House finding a new bottom, day after day after… whoa. Turning Point? They’re not even pretending. The Biggest Political Story in Decades. In a Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred. Days Before Firing, Comey Asked for More Resources for Russia Inquiry. Inside Trump’s anger and impatience. Another inside story. Time to shut everything down. And then on the third day he threatened to blackmail Comey with secret White House tapes. Only the Rock can save us now.

* The primary takeaway of the last 18 months is that no one should ever use email for any reason.

* Though this chart from the New York Times seems pretty definitive that the Comey letter didn’t determine the 2016 election.

* Huge relief after only 11 million people vote for a fascist.

* Trump’s attacking the Census.

* Journalist arrested for trying to ask HHS Secretary Tom Price a question.

What if populism is not the problem, but the solution?

Alcohol and academia.

* Twitter and academia.

By refusing to negotiate with recently unionized graduate workers, Yale president Peter Salovey has announced in writing that the university will defy US labor law.

* Meanwhile, at the greatest public university in the world: Also included in the itemized spending was a dinner tab worth more than a year of tuition.

* Locked Up for Being Poor. How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality. U.S. life expectancy varies by more than 20 years from county to county. All the money’s gone, nowhere to go.

* Kristen Gillibrand, for and against. All this for someone who already ruled it out!

Despite the confidence that the backlash to the healthcare bill will benefit Democrats, this doesn’t seem like good politics to be gleefully cheering on something you think is going to literally kill people. Especially, when you’re just singing over the supposed political benefits.

* History Will Remember These 217 House Republicans for Their Inhumanity.

The Democratic Party Is a Ghost. Losing West Virginia. Priorities in Delaware. The Resistance, but not just as a joke. Stop promoting liberal conspiracy theories on Twitter.

* Trumpism is coming from the suburbs. Beyond Economics: Fears of Cultural Displacement Pushed the White Working Class to Trump.

* A study at Demos says voter suppression flipped Wisconsin. Some Words of Caution.

* I’m sure no one could find this objectionable: A top government official overseeing detentions and deportations is heading to a private prison company at the end of the month, according to a source with firsthand knowledge.

The Little Known History of Black Women Using Soda Fountains as Contested Spaces.

* On Black English.

Fair Use Too Often Goes Unused.

How a Utah county silenced Native American voters — and how Navajos are fighting back.

 The Higher-Education Crisis Is a Labor Crisis.

* How Marquette Is Becoming More Diverse.

Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong.

This is how SETI plans to find alien life by 2037.

Chicago Approves Plan To Block Trump’s Name on His Tower With Giant, Flying Pigs.

* A Defense of the Tuvel Open Letter, at the Chronicle. And on the other side.

* How many Death Row prisoners are disabled? All of them.

* The length schools will go to cover up for bullies never ceases to amaze me.

* District: The Game of Gerrymandering for the Whole Family.

* Secret military space shuttle rattles Florida.

Accelerationism: how a fringe philosophy predicted the future we live in.

HIV life expectancy ‘near normal’ thanks to new drugs.

* Another neurological disease unexpectedly linked to gut bacteria.

U.S. to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe, Officials Say.

Six individuals who learned that they descended from slaves sold by Georgetown University over 175 years ago reflect on family and life.

* Private schools have a plan to kill the high school transcript that will be totally fair and not offer their students an unfair advantage in any way.

* Stephen Fry is being investigated for blasphemy. Amazing.

That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox.

The Girls’ Soccer Team That Joined a Boys’ League, and Won It.

* Winners and losers of the recent nuclear holocaust.

Write the book you needed to read when you were a child. Troubled Wisconsin man goes on 50 state killing spree. Guns and Roses tones it down. Our future in space. They fucking killed him. Top ten book rebrands, all-time. I hacked into Mike Pence’s email. Maybe I should give the Yankees another look. A new favorite metaphor. But it was alright, everything was alright, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

* And I don’t care how pretty or enigmatic it is, nothing will ever make Blade Runner 2049 a good idea.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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6 Mistakes That Cost Democrats Dearly?

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Via @zunguzungu, here’s the list from Paul Jay of the Real News Network:

6. Not investigating Bush and Cheney for criminal actions while in office.
5. Bailing out bankers and not the banking system.
4. Not using the GM/Chrysler bailout as an opportunity to build a green economy.
3. Not defending the public option for health care reform.
2. Not bringing a promised new mindset to US foreign policy.
1. Allowing Republicans to rebrand themselves as populist behind the skirts of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party.

As I mentioned in the strikes and gutters post I tend to think that most of these didn’t “cost” Democrats dearly in the sense that they could have won the midterms if they’d done all six. The primal mistake is still #0: the too-small stimulus.

That said I wish they’d done all of these, because they were the right things to do and because the tiny window 2009-2010 was the best chance we’ll have for a good while. #6 diminishes the country and arguably makes Obama a party to Bush’s crimes; #5 and #4 were huge missed opportunities that will cost the country dearly in the long run; #3 was a big mistake in its own right as well as part of the larger health-care-reform supermistake that offset most concrete improvements in the health care system to 2014 and beyond; #1 would probably have helped us in some important races at the margins of the wave (though the centrality of Palin and the Tea Party definitely saved us elsewhere).

Only #2 seems truly irrelevant to the midterms. People don’t care that the U.S. has spent the last few decades waging a endless series of little wars and open-ended occupations; they seem to like it that way. The most terrible thing about contemporary U.S. politics is that Broder’s atrocious plan to win re-election by starting a war with Iran would actually work.

AIG: Numbers Don’t Lie:

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Let’s start off with xkcd’s lesson in how numbers lie.

As I’ve been saying both up top and in the comments the significance of this AIG bonus outrage is being badly overblown. The bonuses are a nice red-meat issue for the media circus but they’re basically a rounding error with regard to the scale of the bailout as a whole. Nate Silver is basically right here precisely because, as the cliche goes, “hard facts make bad law”—though his comparison to the Terry Schaivo case flounders at the fact that this silly thing the Congress is doing has wide popular support. (Nate and Josh Marshall both have more on the possible unintended consequences of this poorly thought-out new tax.)

As I’ve been trying to argue, the only relevant consideration regarding the bonuses is whether they were legal contracts, negotiated in the proper way and not predicated on fraudulent accounting or other illegal activity. Andrew Cuomo and Eric Holder should be investigating the bonuses, in other words, not Barney Frank. If they were legal, and their terms were met, pay them out; if they were fraudulent or predicated on fraud, arrest people.

What angers me about this situation is the widespread assumption that of course the bonuses are legal (just ill-advised), just like of course everything AIG did was legal but ill-advised. See, for instance, Ezra Klein on Madoff:

Madoff knew his investment scheme was a fraud. Wall Street should have known their investment schemes were a fraud.

Give me a break. Plenty of people on Wall Street knew their investment schemes were fraudulent. Those people are crooks, not dupes, and criminal prosecutions are the way we find out who they are.

(EDITED TO ADD: You can draw a distinction between AIG and Madoff, but it’s the distinction between two separate categories of crime, not between the guilty and the innocent.)

Repeating what I wrote in answer to Shankar’s question “Criminal Prosecution for what?” last night:

Well, that’s the job of state and federal prosecutors to determine. But there’s plenty of reason to think that (say) underwriting billions trillions of dollars in insurance obligations you know you have no capacity to pay out on is an abrogation of your fiduciary obligations — just for starters. Fraud and dishonest account methods were rampant in the banking industry, which has strict rules about this sort of thing that plainly weren’t followed. It’s not *just* stupid — in many cases it was stupid and illegal. Or so it seems to me.

…To add the obvious disclaimer, I’m not a lawyer, much less a prosecutor. But the treatment of the issue in the media tends to frustrate me on this point. Generally speaking the operative assumption seems to be “Oops, and they all got away with it” — that what they did was obviously legal, just slimy, and so we’re all just going to have to swallow our anger and move on. I don’t know that it *was* legal in all cases, and if CEOs and CFOs broke the law in chasing these bogus returns then DOJ and state AGs absolutely need to get involved. It’s a much higher priority for me than retributive taxation of contracts that are obscene (but probably legal) in an industry where the payment of obscene salaries is already (and still) an unchallenged norm. The bonuses are peanuts compared to the amount of money that’s already vanished.

Glenn Beck, Idiot

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Glenn Beck Watch: still an idiot.

BECK: The second thing is, is that — you know, I was called — who was it that called me today, “a populist”? I’m not a populist! I’ve been saying this stuff when it was unpopular! I’ve got news for you: It’s still pretty unpopular!

But don’t take my word for it; just ask Fox’s own Shepard Smith.

Colbert’s recent descent into his Beck-inspired “Doom Bunker” (1, 2) cannot go unremarked here. Jon Stewart zinged the guy last night, too, come to think of it. This is all really funny—but Steve Benen warns it’s no laughing matter.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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