Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘pragmatism

My My My My Corona

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How Much Worse the Coronavirus Could Get, in Charts. U.S. Hospitals Prepare for Coronavirus, With the Worst Still to Come. The Coronavirus Outbreak Is About To Put Hospital Capacity To A Severe Test. Here’s the Biggest Thing to Worry About With Coronavirus. The Extraordinary Decisions Facing Italian Doctors. Listen to me. The problem is your imagination. Stop using dystopia as your compass. Stop using metaphors. You have to live through this. Terrified Doctors Sound Alarm on Coronavirus. 40 coronavirus deaths in US as Disney parks to close, March Madness canceled. The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing.’ This Is Not a Snow Day. Our new life of isolation. Cancel Everything. The coronavirus crisis will pass, but life may never be ‘normal’ again. Italy: Don’t Do What We Did. ‘It’s Just Everywhere Already’: How Delays in Testing Set Back the U.S. Coronavirus Response.

Let’s Get Serious About Fighting the Corona Depression. Coronavirus Calls for an Emergency Rent Freeze and Eviction Moratorium. “We’re Not Going to Work Through Coronavirus.” The Dismantled State Takes on a Pandemic. That’ll solve it. Coronavirus Matters, The Stock Market Doesn’t, and Thinking It Does May Literally Kill Us. Coronavirus will bankrupt more people than it kills — and that’s the real global emergency. The Coronavirus Puts the Class War Into Stark Relief. Even Greg Mankiw thinks we need a UBI to get through this. Alone against the virus. In a Plague Year.

* Coronavirus is mysteriously sparing kids and killing the elderly. Understanding why may help defeat the virus. Why Covid-19 is so dangerous for older adults. We Simply Do Not Understand Why. ‘If I’m Going to Get Sick and Die, I Might as Well Do It at Disney World.’ Are the olds okay?

* Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines. The News Isn’t Great.

The Coronavirus Is Upending Higher Ed. Here Are the Latest Developments. As the Coronavirus Scrambles Colleges’ Finances, Leaders Hope for the Best and Plan for the Worst. Academe’s Coronavirus Shock Doctrine. What about the health of staff members? What about international student visas? Help! I have to suddenly teach online! What should I do? And the link every academic has already seen: Please do a bad job of putting your courses online.

Coronavirus Is The Nightmare Situation People Worried About When Trump Won. A Seattle lab uncovered Washington’s coronavirus outbreak only after defying federal regulators. A Map Of The Coronavirus Exposures In Trump’s Orbit In Just Two Weeks. The Trump Presidency Is Over.

* Prisons and jails are vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks. New York Prison Labor Makes Hand Sanitizer, Prepares to Dig Graves if Coronvirus Worsens. COVID-19 is shining a bright and extremely unflattering light on the condition of the social safety net in America.

South Korea sect leader to face probe over deaths.

* A COVID-19 Homeschooling Curriculum.

* The ebook of Priscilla Wald’s Contagious is now free at Duke University Press.

12 Monkeys Is the Apocalypse Movie We Need Right Now. Teach the controversy, I say.

* Lightspeed Magazine has “The Last Flight of Dr. Ain” for all your apocalyptic needs.

* http://sfra.org/Coronavirus-News.

* Probably the single biggest problem I have.

Let’s see what else is in the news.

* William Gibson on the apocalypse: It’s been happening for at least 100 years. Several Global Tipping Points May Have Arrived.

* Tips for the Depressed.

* What about this? I’ve been asked to be a co-editor with Nisi Shawl on the first volume of the Library of America’s edition of Octavia E. Butler’s works.

* CFP: A Critical Companion to Terry Gilliam. CFP: Science Fictions, guest ed. Takayuki Tatsumi.

* The Democrats’ Cult of Pragmatism. The People Who See Bernie Sanders as Their Only Hope. Joe Biden’s secret governing plan. Joe Biden is the Hillary Clinton of 2020 – and it won’t end well this time either. The other swing voter. Our First Hundred Days Could Be A Nightmare.

Hundreds Of Staff At The Guardian Have Signed A Letter To The Editor Criticising Its “Transphobic Content.”

* Abigail Nussbaum reviews The Testaments.

* Captain Pike Star Trek Spinoff Series Reportedly in Development. Star Trek: Picard offers some answers on its worst episode yet. I don’t think things are quite this dire but the series is running out of time to right itself.

* Watchmen watch: Nothing ever ends.

* The circle of academic life.

* Pig starts farm fire by excreting pedometer.

* Bring on LEGO Super Mario.

* Autism therapy: His Reality Is a Mock Village Where Everybody Knows Him.

* A sad coda to an amazing story in the history of science: Nancy Wexler has confirmed that she has Huntington’s disease.

* Tough week for Alex Jones.

* And probably your word of the century: disinfotainment.

Friday Links!

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* TNI CFPs we have believe in: “The Stars.”

How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future.

Childhood, Emergency.

The child was too young to have a criminal record. Young enough, at 12, that to claim he was “no angel” would have been extraordinarily obscene. Yet it did not take long before media agencies began looking into his parents’ past. Around dinner tables across the country, some black uncle or aunt or mother or father or grandparent or brother or sister is asking why the parents weren’t there, didn’t or couldn’t do more to protect him. People will solemnly nod, but they will know the truth. For too many black childhood is a gestation period, an interlude between a period of less-than-innocent babyhood and maturation into full social pathology. Black children, but not just black children, are denied childhood. Instead, they come to be the stuff of nightmares, youths who are simply younger versions of the terror they will embody. “A hallucination of your worst fears.”

Police officer Darren Wilson is not a monster; he is the mundane and day-to-day face of white supremacy as experienced by people of color in the United States.

Who Killed Robert McCulloch’s Father?

Why Americans Call Turkey ‘Turkey.’

* BREAKING: Algorithms Can Ruin Lives.

* Kitty Queer. On the queer subtext of Chris Claremont’s long run on X-Men.

Hooray! 83 episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are now available to download.

Can the NFL survive its concussion crisis?

* Great moments in not thinking of an elephant: “The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans.” This has got to be the worst imaginable framing to argue on behalf of kindness or generosity towards immigrants.

* A theory of politics predicated on “how to convince your right-wing uncle to act on climate change” isn’t one. Unless “Uncle Richard” is Cheney, and not even then.

* Excerpts from Hillary Clinton’s contract rider.

The Mysterious Antikythera Mechanism Is More Ancient Than We Thought.

* The long-awaited final book in Adam Kotsko’s psychology trilogy, Creepiness, is now available for preorder.

* And maybe we should just try to figure out who’s cloning all these Hitlers.

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Late Night Wednesday

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* Obama’s terrible offshore drilling announcement has inaugurated another round of opaque speculation about whether he is a inverterate weakling, a cynical pragmatist, or a master strategist. Maybe the pop-up book told him to do it.

* Relatedly, from James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change.

* Benen and Kos separately debunk assertions that there is no racism in the Tea Party movement.

* Just ask Richard Burr: Health care will not be repealed.

* The University of Washington tried to organize a debate on whether the health-care reform bill is constitutional. But it couldn’t find a law professor to argue that it isn’t, reports the Seattle Times.

* And, in GQ, all about Shatner.

Health Care Reform Part 1,000,000

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Nate Silver wants to convince you that in spite of everything the health care bill really is a good idea.

A slightly longer version of the elevator pitch. So, we’ve talked a lot about what the bill is not. It’s not structural reform. What is it, then? At the end of the day, it’s a big bleeping social welfare program — the largest social welfare program to be implemented since the Great Society. And that’s really what it’s been all along: fundamental reform like single-payer or Wyden-Bennett was never really on the table. The bill comes very close, indeed, to establishing what might be thought of as a right to access to health care: once it’s been determined that people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health care coverage, and that working class people ought to receive assistance so that they can afford health care coverage, it will be very hard to remove those benefits. It’s the sort of opportunity that comes around rarely — and one that liberals will greatly regret if they turn down.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 16, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Health Care Watch (Vermont Is Angry and So Am I)

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Potentially seismic news tonight as Bernie Sanders (backing me up on reconciliation) now says he currently can’t support the health care bill. This comes amidst his fellow Vermonter, Howard Dean, continuing to argue that the bill in its current form is worse than nothing and Joe Lieberman, history’s most absurd villain, actually threatening to join the GOP.

Kevin Drum, Steve Benen, Scott Lemieux, Think Progress, and Nate Silver all say Dean is wrong, and on the policy merits he probably is—I don’t think the bill is actually worse than nothing and if I were in the Senate I’d have to swallow my rage and vote for it. But politically I just don’t know; continuing to be “responsible” and “realistic” when even our allies habitually betray us is starting to look like a mug’s game. (I think the official term for the progressive caucus is “useful idiots.”) Why shouldn’t Obama and Reid have to beg for Bernie’s support? Why should only centrist tantrums count?

Robert Gibbs says Howard Dean is being irrational, and Jane is absolutely right: he didn’t say anything like that about Holy Joe, even when it was actually true. Why not? Russ Feingold says it’s because the Liebermanized bill is what the White House has really wanted all along. If that’s so, they’re the only ones; without a public option support for health care tanks, with good reason to think (as Kos does) that the individual mandate (however necessary) will prove politically toxic without a public option on the table.

Chris Bowers says there are no more happy endings. Probably not.

More on Health Care and the Political Spectrum

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Starting off, I thought this insightful post from Matt Yglesias puts the central paradox in centrist/incrementalist approaches to health care reform very well:

The reason is that the way insurance companies make money is to segment the population based on risk. And the way centrist, moderate, or otherwise incrementalist approaches to reforming U.S. health care work is they attempt to regulate away insurance companies’ ability to do risk-segmentation effectively. But once you accept the premise that you don’t want insurance companies doing all this risk analysis, there’s basically nothing else for them to do. That’s just what an insurance company is.

Naturally I use that term “centrist” here quite advisedly, taking Shankar D’s point from the comments that it can sometimes obscure more than it reveals. But here again I think the term is meaningful and useful: “centrism” designates an approach to health care reform that leaves the current dominant coverage mechanism (for-profit insurance companies) basically intact and unchanged, in contrast to liberal or progressive approaches like (in order of radicality) co-operatives, public options, and single-payer, which are transformative in nature.

Ezra Klein takes up a more Shankarian style of analysis when he writes of the progressive blogosophere inappropriately making a fetish of the public option:

It might have been a necessary thing from an activism point of view, but convincing liberals that this bill was worthless in the absence of the public option was a terrible decision, wrong on the merits and unfair to the base. The achievement of this bill is $900 billion to help people purchase health-care coverage, a new market that begins to equalize the conditions of the unemployed and the employed, and a regulatory structure in which this country can build, for the first time, a universal health-care system. Thousands and thousands of lives will be saved by this bill. Bankruptcies will be averted. Rescission letters won’t be sent. Parents won’t have to fret because they can’t take their child, or themselves, to the emergency room. This bill will, without doubt, do more good than any single piece of legislation passed during my (admittedly brief) lifetime. If it passes, the party that fought for it for decades deserves to feel a sense of accomplishment.

Fair enough.

But this is also the same Ezra Klein who wrote, only a few days ago, that “This bill, when it’s finished, is not going to be very good. But it’s going to be a lot better than what we have, and almost more importantly, a lot easier to improve in the future.” And it is this argument—the expansionist argument—that I think remains the clearest justification for full-throated progressive support of this significantly imperfect bill. Obamacare is a base hit, not a home run. Recognizing it as such isn’t, and shouldn’t be confused with, rejecting it altogether.

Sunday Links

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Sunday links.

* If you’re still reading about health care, don’t miss the New York Times‘s hundred-year history of health care reform in America and (via the indomitable Steve Benen) a few links on what the bill actually accomplishes. It’s also worth checking in with Steve Benen’s reading of John Boehner’s December 2008 declaration “The Future is Cao,” which looks a whole lot different now.

* I’ve been thinking about the Paul Begala editorial from the summer, “Progress Over Perfection,” and I think some nay-saying progressives could use the reminder.

No self-respecting liberal today would support Franklin Roosevelt’s original Social Security Act. It excluded agricultural workers — a huge part of the economy in 1935, and one in which Latinos have traditionally worked. It excluded domestic workers, which included countless African Americans and immigrants. It did not cover the self-employed, or state and local government employees, or railroad employees, or federal employees or employees of nonprofits. It didn’t even cover the clergy. FDR’s Social Security Act did not have benefits for dependents or survivors. It did not have a cost-of-living increase. If you became disabled and couldn’t work, you got nothing from Social Security.

If that version of Social Security were introduced today, progressives like me would call it cramped, parsimonious, mean-spirited and even racist. Perhaps it was all those things. But it was also a start. And for 74 years we have built on that start. We added more people to the winner’s circle: farmworkers and domestic workers and government workers. We extended benefits to the children of working men and women who died. We granted benefits to the disabled. We mandated annual cost-of-living adjustments. And today Social Security is the bedrock of our progressive vision of the common good.

* Meanwhile, Ryan’s Twitter feed has this on the attention economy as “post-capitalism.”

The views I challenge include the notion that attention flows through the Internet chiefly to corporations, that attention only has significance if somehow monetized, that it is ultimately capitalists who exploit attention, and that money remains far more basic than attention.

Don’t worry, fellow citizens; capitalism is alive and well.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 8, 2009 at 4:08 pm