Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘separation of powers

If You Want a Vision of the Future: Weekend Links

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* CFP: Literature and Social Justice Graduate Conference.

* Dan Harmon’s advice for career happiness — imagine a job you could stand doing and then invent it — is more or less exactly how I describe what I do. I’m definitely getting away with something.

* Explains a lot: Long-Term Couples Develop Interconnected Memory Systems.

* Deafness and Hawkeye #19. How Hawkeye #19 Portrays The World Of A Deaf Superhero To A Hearing Audience, For Next Year’s Eisner Awards. I’m pretty sure this seals the deal on me using Fraction’s Hawkeye run the next time I do my comics class.

* An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene.

KSR: I think we can make it through this current, calamitous time period. I envision a two-part process. First, we need to learn what to do in ecological terms. That sounds tricky, but the biosphere is robust and we know a lot about it, so really it’s a matter of refining our parameters; i.e. deciding how many of us constitutes a carrying capacity given our consumption, and then figuring out the technologies and lifestyles that would allow for that carrying capacity while also allowing ecosystems to thrive. We have a rough sense of these parameters now.

The second step is the political question: It’s a matter of self-governance. We’d need to act globally, and that’s obviously problematic. But the challenge is not really one of intellect. It’s the ability to enforce a set of laws that the majority would have to agree on and live by, and those who don’t agree would have to follow.

So this isn’t a question of reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics, or perceiving the strings of string theory. Instead it involves other aspects of intelligence, like sociability, long-range planning, law, and politics. Maybe these kinds of intelligence are even more difficult to develop, but in any case, they are well within our adaptive powers.

* Everyone knows the mass extinction of Earth’s animal life is an almost unfathomable evil. What this blog post presupposes is… maybe it isn’t?

* Fiction and climate change.

* The Pre-History of Firefly.

* The Pre-History of Halbig. Senate documents and interviews undercut ‘bombshell’ lawsuit against Obamacare. Wheeeeeee!

* Same-sex marriage in the 19th century.

In 1807, Charity and Sylvia moved in together in Vermont. A historian uncovers their story.

* Show your support! Agamben and empty political gestures.

* Wisconsin Supreme Court bumming everyone out today.

* Adjuncts Would Qualify for Loan Forgiveness Under Proposed Bill.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation, whose exact language has not been made public, colleges that don’t comply with its rules could face fines of up to 1 percent of their operating budgets.

* Postdocs as glass ceiling.

The open data movement might address some of these challenges but its greatest success to date has been getting governments to release data that is mostly of economic and social utility. The thorny political data is still closely guarded. There’s no “social physics” for the likes of Goldman Sachs or HSBC: we don’t know the connections between their subsidiaries and shell companies registered in tax havens. Nobody is running RCTs to see what would happen if we had fewer lobbyists. Who will nudge the US military to spend less money on drones and donate the savings to the poor?

* God, Democrats can’t even make Republicans eat their own shit right.

The researchers concluded that there was a great advantage to having a white-sounding name, so much so that having a white-sounding name is worth about eight years of work experience.

* The Kids Who Beat Autism.

* The Long, Sad Fall of Richard Dawkins.

* John Oliver vs. America’s Nuclear Command.

* The Catholic Church Makes A Fortune In The German Porn Business.

* US’s Oldest Private Black University Is in Trouble.

* One Year of Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton.

* Prisoners are getting paid $2 a day to fight California wildfires.

* The youngest prisoner at Guantánamo.

* Why Bad New York Cops Can Get Away With Abuse.

* Green groups too white and too male compared to other sectors – report.

* Death threats for MedievalPOC at Tumblr because Reddit is a cesspool.

David Frum’s Apology for His Nutty Theory Links to More Nutty Theories. Of course his credibility is now shot forever and we’ll never hear anything from him again…

* CIA Pisses on Rule of Law, Separation of Powers, No One Cares.

* The Case Against Cards Against Humanity.

Scientists Have Measured 16-Foot Waves In The Arctic Ocean.

* The world risks an “insurmountable” water crisis by 2040 without an immediate and significant overhaul of energy consumption and demand, a research team reported on Wednesday.

How Much Energy Would You Need To Replicate Elsa’s Powers In Frozen?

* Marvel might be doing something with Squirrel Girl.

* South Korean Robots Stand In For Real Baseball Fans.

A Map Of The U.S., If There Had Never Been A Mexican-American War.

The six-hour miniseries just greenlit by HBO is based on the book by Lisa Belkin and will be co-scripted by writer-producer David Simon okay I’ll watch.

* Abolish the MPAA.

* Postmodernism is the only explanation for black licorice.

* Tumblr of the minute: Michelle Foucault.

* A rare bit of good news: researchers whose last names begin with A, B, or C who are listed first as authors in articles in a variety of science journals receive, on average, one to two more citations than their peers whose names start with X, Y, or Z.

Blogger fired from language school over ‘homophonia.”

* When parachutes fail.

* This kid gets it.

* And I don’t care how this goes down: I will always consider it Marnie starring as Peter Pan.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Special! Bonus! Weekend! Links!

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* io9 buries the lede: Batgirl is going to grad school.

* “We use the atmosphere as an open sewer, and don’t charge anyone for dumping stuff into it.” Free-market fundamentalism and climate change. Meanwhile, Miami drowns.

* On innocent civilians. On collective punishment. On the Gaza Border.

* Wall Street as cause and beneficiary of skyrocketing university tuition.

* A “nationwide gentrification effect” is segregating us by education. Just say “class!” It’s not that hard!

* God Loves Cleveland. What Cleveland Would Look Like With LeBron James And Kevin Love.

* The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice: Man Who Said He Was Fired Over Buying Pot Gets His Job Back.

Big Data hopes to liberate us from the work of self-construction—and justify mass surveillance in the process. Also at TNI: Plantation Neoliberalism.

* Adam Kotsko for inflation and against prequelism.

* Duke’s Own Ainehi Edoro interviews Angela Davis.

* Lance Armstrong in Purgatory.

* Separation of powers! The system works! Meanwhile!

* Timothy Zahn Says We Shouldn’t Assume That All Star Wars Expanded Universe Books Are Non-Canon.

Ted Cruz Launches Senate Fight To Auction Off America’s Public Lands. The Grand Canyon Faces Gravest Threat in the Park’s 95-Year History.

* Gasp.

* Director/cinematographer Ernest Dickerson is shopping an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Clay’s Ark.

* That “Side Scroller” web comic I posted earlier in the week that everyone loved.

Northern New Mexico College shorts its adjuncts.

* A Government Computer Glitch Reminded 121-Year-Olds to Register for the Draft. Lousy moochers! Don’t they know freedom isn’t free!

* The true story of the Seinfeld episode the cast refused to shoot.

* Probably the worst news I’ve ever received: Fraction’s award-winning Hawkeye comic apparently coming to an end.

* Mesmerizing Photos of People Lying in a Week’s Worth of Their Trash.

* And your twelve-year-old self just hacked Time Magazine: Scientists Say Smelling Farts Might Prevent Cancer.

If Only There Were Some Historical Analogy That Could Help Us Evaluate These Proposals

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Making History by Shaming SCOTUS? (TWICE UPDATED)

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A reader at TPM says so:

I know I’ve never seen anything like that happen in a SOTU and if anything like that has ever happened before in a SOTU or a joint session, I must have been hung over the day of the lecture in college. Even the fireside chat in which FDR unveiled his court packing scheme, as dripping with patrician condescension and barely concealed venom as it was, didn’t go second person and directly in their face the way Obama did tonight.

The Supremes are used to wafting into the House in their black robes, sitting dispassionately through the speech and wafting ethereally out again on a cloud of apolitical rectitude. It’s like they forget they’re there because they’re one of the three branches. And I truly don’t think it ever occured to them that crassly injecting themselves into the sordid partisan fray of what they like to call “the political branches” with that catastrophic decision would cause the President to treat them like people who’d injected themselves into the sordid partisan fray. (And why should they? After all, they got away with Bush v. Gore with barely a dent in their credibility). I even thought I detected a bit of “told you” coming from the four in the minority.

I think we saw a bit of history made tonight, and no one noticed except the Supremes themselves.

Obama seemed genuinely conflicted about this moment; if you compare his spoken remarks to the prepared text you’ll see he seemed to be softening his attack on the fly. I was remarking to someone over GChat earlier tonight that part of the problem with Obama seems to be, perhaps, his genuine respect for the separation of powers; beyond the mere politics of cover he seems to actually want Congress to do its own work in drafting legislation. It’s a problem, and hurting him badly, because Congressional Democrats have no brains. (A case study in how virtue becomes vice.)

But here, then, is one answer to that criticism, in its own way arguably a vice: Obama is also the politician who finally stopped pretending the five-justice majority that gave us Bush v. Gore and now Citizens United v. FEC is nonpartisan, apolitical, or “above the fray.” It’s been clear for years that this SCOTUS majority is every bit as activist as the “liberal judges” it decries. Indeed, with Citizens United, we see it’s probably more.

UPDATE: Media Matters, in response to a Drudge five-alarm whine over this, says it’s not that rare after all. Contra MM, the moment is somewhat singular. Citizens United was a specific decision, made just last week; Reagan’s criticism of decade-old Roe v. Wade and Bush’s complaints about anonymous activist judges don’t quite measure up.

UPDATE 2: Of course, many are pointing to Alito’s visible response to Obama as evidence of the criticism I make of the politicized contemporary Court above, as well noting that this too is a breach of protocol. Here’s Greenwald:

There’s a reason that Supreme Court Justices — along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff — never applaud or otherwise express any reaction at a State of the Union address. It’s vital — both as a matter of perception and reality — that those institutions remain apolitical, separate and detached from partisan wars. The Court’s pronouncements on (and resolutions of) the most inflammatory and passionate political disputes retain legitimacy only if they possess a credible claim to being objectively grounded in law and the Constitution, not political considerations. The Court’s credibility in this regard has — justifiably — declined substantially over the past decade, beginning with Bush v. Gore (where 5 conservative Justices issued a ruling ensuring the election of a Republican President), followed by countless 5-4 decisions in which conservative Justices rule in a way that promotes GOP political beliefs, while the more “liberal” Justices do to the reverse (Citizens United is but the latest example). Beyond that, the endless, deceitful sloganeering by right-wing lawyers about “judicial restraint” and “activism” — all while the judges they most revere cavalierly violate those “principles” over and over — exacerbates that problem further (the unnecessarily broad scope of Citizens United is the latest example of that, too, and John ‘balls and strikes” Roberts may be the greatest hypocrite ever to sit on the Supreme Court). All of that is destroying the ability of the judicial branch to be perceived — and to act — as one of the few truly apolitical and objective institutions.