Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Robert Gibbs

Monday Morning Links

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* Of course you had me at “Sun Myung Moon’s lost ecotopia.”

In 2000, Moon paid an undisclosed amount for roughly 1.5 million acres of land fronting the Paraguay River. Most of that property was in a town called Puerto Casado, about 100 miles downriver from Puerto Leda. Moon’s subsidiaries wanted the land to open commercial enterprises ranging from logging to fish farming. But a group of Puerto Casado residents launched a bitter legal battle to nullify the deal. While that controversy continued to divide Paraguayans, the Puerto Leda project proceeded under the radar. Moon turned the land over to 14 Japanese men—“national messiahs,” according to church documents, who were instructed to build an “ideal city” where people could live in harmony with nature, as God intended it. Moon declared that the territory represented “the least developed place on earth, and, hence, closest to original creation.”

* Right now I am sitting at my computer, writing a post that I will receive no money for and which is not part of any career plan. It’s a little thing, obviously. But why do I do it? Because human beings aren’t little efficiency machines. Human life is what you experience when you aren’t busily accruing material resources.

* 1994 literature syllabus from David Foster Wallace, featuring Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Harris, and Mary Higgins Clark.

* For six years during my twenties, I worked as one of the principal ghostwriters for a mass-market series for teenaged girls called Sweet Valley High.

* Student Persistence in Bioelectricity, Fall 2012 (Duke University MOOC).

DukeMooc

New data from a long-term study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College suggest that some of the students most often targeted in online learning’s access mission are less likely than their peers to benefit from — and may in fact be hurt by — digital as opposed to face-to-face instruction.

* Five Experts Give College Scorecard a Barely Passing Grade.

* Accepting the Oscar for Marlon Brando, 1973.

* 9 Sexist Things That Happened At The Oscars.

* The Debt Everyone Is Freaking Out About Does Not Exist.

* “When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, ‘You’re not even to acknowledge the drone program. You’re not even to discuss that it exists,'” said Gibbs, now an MSNBC contributor.

* And an Angela Davis biopic comes out April 15.

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Sunday Morning!

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* My friend (and longtime reader) Jacob recently invented a hip new parlor game: “What minor events of 1965 will feature offhandedly in the rest of this season’s Mad Men episodes?” Hercules at AICN is already playing.

* Maybe it’s the “(un)professional left” in me, but seeing progressive bloggers fall over themselves to praise Obama for his statement in defense of the Cordoba House project looks a lot like the soft bigotry of dramatically lowered expectations. (…an odd thing about Obama’s presidency has been the extent to which his speeches are taken to be the site of the real action. ‘There’s something weird,’ a close observer of politics said the other day, ‘about the way when you talk to people about Obama, they mention his speeches and compare them to his other speeches.’) Nate Silver makes the case that this wasn’t even especially politically risky, and I tend to agree. Even Fox & Friends said he did the right thing. If this were really “one of the most impressive and commendable things Obama has done since being inaugurated,” we’d be in even worse trouble than we are.

I did like this from Josh Marshall:

It’s a quite a moment. We’re still hung up on the Turks turning the Hagia Sophia into a Mosque in 1453? Soon after 9/11 we marveled at how the bin Ladenites could still be so aggrieved over the abolition of the Caliphate in 1923 and the loss of Muslim Spain in 1492. But I guess times change.

* Speaking of the professional left, Maureen Dowd is stealing all my best ideas:

After Bush, Democrats thought the way to paper over the distinction between liberals and radical lefties was to call everyone progressives. But calling yourself a progressive is just a stupid disguise where you pretend the contradiction isn’t there.

* Scientists discover new bearded monkey. After a month and a half without access to a proper beard trimmer, I have to admit I look more and more like this monkey. Two more days in Europe, then I get a haircut and a shave.

* In sadder monkey news: Officials Seek Court Order to Kill Lemurs.

The state wants to see the lemurs put to death. “We have the authority to kill the monkeys,” said a state health official, who asked not to be named. “We don’t know which one bit, so they all have to go.”

* Can you believe my mother threw out my one-of-a-kind Jon Stewart stormtrooper? I’d be a millionaire today.

* Is Seattle the new center of the literary universe? Via the Poetry Foundation.

* And a bogus climate “expert” has walked back his denialism on CNN. The linked article also has your climate apocalypse factoid of the day, which would have come in handy in the epic thread a few days ago:

Myers and Sanchez also promoted other denier canards, from petty jokes about Al Gore to a mention of winter in South America:

So it’s the coldest winter on record in Bolivia. Okay. So. Well does that counteract? Probably not. They’re having millions of fish killed because they’re freezing to death literally in Bolivia.

In fact, it is only the coldest winter in Bolivia in 47 years, not the “coldest winter on record.” In contrast, Russia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Niger, Sudan, Belarus, Ukraine, Cyprus, Finland, Qatar, St Helena, Solomon Islands, and Columbia have all seen all-time record-high temperatures this year. The global average temperature is at or near record highs, far above the long-term average. Fortunately, global warming has not yet gotten so extreme that record lows are never set — but they are now greatly outpaced by record highs.

Six Reasons Gibbs’s Outburst Doesn’t Make Much Sense

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It’s a new day, so perhaps we’re all over it, but just in case we’re not: Here are six reasons Gibbs’ outburst doesn’t make much sense, not counting the fact that it will generate hundreds of articles like this. I especially endorse #1, #3, and #4.

Just Ridiculous

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Robert Gibbs has already inartfully walked back his Kinsley gaffe that left critics of the Obama administration “ought to be drug-tested,” but he ought to be drug-tested should probably resign / be fired anyway. He’s the press secretary; his whole freaking job is to stay on-message. Screwing up like this is not okay.

More importantly, this White House needs to remember who its friends are. By my count the Left has fallen into line every time it has been asked, often against its better judgment. It’s the Joe Liebermans and Ben Nelsons of the party who have repeatedly and gleefully betrayed the White House when it mattered, not the dirty hippies…

* Nate Silver: “I don’t know whether Gibbs was going “off-message” out of frustration, or whether the White House has become so jaded that they actually think this was a good strategy. Either way, it speaks to the need for some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in the White House. The famously unflappable Obama is losing his cool.”

* Glenn Greenwald: “The Democrats have been concerned about a lack of enthusiasm on the part of their base headed into the midterm elections. These sorts of rabid, caricatured, Fox-News-copying attacks on the Left will undoubtedly help generate more enthusiasm — more loud clapping — for the Democrats. I know I’m eager to go canvass and clap for Democrats after reading Gibbs’ noble, inspiring vision. If it were Gibbs’ goal to be as petulant and self-pitying as possible, what could he have done differently?”

* Chris Bowers: “Secondly, and more sadly, reaching out to the left by hating on it has a long, established tradition in Democratic politics. Many Democratic elected officials feel that reaching out to moderates and conservatives means bending over backward to show those voters that they share their views. However, many of those same elected officials consider left-wing outreach to be telling progressives to shut the fuck up and get in line. With outreach like that, it is probably no wonder that President Obama’s main problem with his approval rating right now is among self-identified liberals.”

* David Frum: “More proof of my longtime thesis, Repub pols fear the GOP base; Dem pols hate the Dem base.”

* John Cole: “Way to help the GOTV efforts, Gibbs. Asshole.”

Worse Than Watergate

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm