Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina

Nuclear Carolinas

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Sunday Reading™

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* Babies born this year are the best babies. Fact.

* Gingrichmania! Republicans in disarray! How he did it. Nate Silver:

But South Carolina’s seeming rejection of Mr. Romney goes beyond cultural or demographic idiosyncrasies. Mr. Rtaxomney was resoundingly defeated by Mr. Gingrich, losing badly among his worst demographic groups and barely beating Mr. Gingrich among his best ones. Had you extrapolated the exit poll cross-tabulations from South Carolina to the other 49 states, Mr. Romney might have lost 47 of them. Moreover, the decline of Mr. Romney was almost as significant in national polls as it was in South Carolina.

Now poor Romney has to release his tax returns. Onward to Florida!

* Great moments in Fox News: Newt Gingrich’s repeated betrayals of the people closest to him suggest he’ll make a trustworthy president.

11 Lesser-Known 2012 Presidential Candidates.

* “One of the gravest threats the FBI saw in the Black Panther movement was their Free Children’s Breakfast Program.” Via zunguzungu.

* When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president. But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke,President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

* Steve Shaviro reviews Carl Freedman’s The Age of Nixon. I actually bought this one just on the strength of the author and title.

* Another absolute must-have: Alison Bechdel’s followup to Fun Home, Are You My Mother?

* David Graeber: The Political Metaphysics of Stupidity.

* Michael Greenberg: What Future for Occupy Wall Street? Also on the OWS tip: diluting the 99% brand.

* They’re still trying to make a movie out of Jeff Smith’s Bone.

* And the Chronicle of Higher Education has an obituary for Dean Jo Rae Wright. I only knew her over email, but I was very sad to hear this. She was a very generous supporter of graduate projects at Duke.

Hmm

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Written by gerrycanavan

December 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Super Monday Night Links

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* My good friend Shankar D has returned to the Internet with his beloved annual March Madness blog.

* Democrats win the Super Bowl!

* Debt forgiveness is coming to Haiti.

* Is the U.S. Senate more dysfunctional than 18th century Poland’s Sejm? Paul Krugman reports. (Via Steve Benen.) Meanwhile, Open Left argues that reliably beating the filibuster would require 72 Democrats but only 54 Republicans, due to disparate party loyalty.

* How Republicans will kill the filibuster.

* Read Ezra Klein.

As I’ve said before, it is very near to impossible to build out an ideological model explaining why Republicans who voted for the deficit-financed Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit would vote against the deficit-neutral health-care reform bill. But it’s very easy to build out a model explaining why Republicans would vote for a bill that would help them if it passed and against a bill that would hurt them if it failed. Same goes for Democrats. Good-faith disagreement is not the explanation that best fits the data.

This isn’t, importantly, an attack on either party. It’s good to have a competitive electoral system! But if we’re going to give the minority party a reason to want the majority party to fail at governing the country, we can’t also give them the power to make the majority party fail at governing the country. We need a legislative system that works alongside our political system, not one that pretends we have a different, more harmonious political system than we really do.

* While I’m wishing away the Senate, Neil Sinhababu is wishing away the 50 states.

* Terrorists who want to overthrow the United States government must now register with South Carolina’s Secretary of State and declare their intentions—or face a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. Keep it in mind. Via Boing Boing.

* Chris Christie getting positive press in New Jersey for gutting state employee benefits.

* Democrats think the kill-Medicare GOP budget is a political winner for them. That would certainly be a novelty. I’m still amazed Republicans are really going to get away with killing a jobs bill during a period of cataclysmic unemployment. It’s 2010; why can’t the DNC circulate talking points? Can’t wait to spend months and months begging the GOP to do the right thing on health care when we all already know they won’t.

* Parents, please don’t waterboard your children.

* Classic Books That Could Be Turned Into Video Games. Some of these are great: Don Quixote Kong, A Hundred Years of Solitaire, Pacman and the Sea, Super Karamazov Brothers, Pride and Extreme Prejudice…

* And deeply bad news for Gerries: delicious soda totally causes pancreatic cancer. I drank a lifetime’s worth in ten years, and then a second lifetime’s worth in the next ten years, so I have to say I feel a little screwed on this.

Wednesday Night

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Wednesday night, post-Zizek-lecture links.

* President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Probably the best of a bad set of options.

* How Food Preferences Vary by Political Ideology. I have to confess they have my number on Chinese/Japanese/Thai, not eating fast food, and delicious, delicious Samoas—but my love of pizza and PB&J proves that beneath my leftist facade beats a deeply reactionary heart.

* Already linked everywhere: Scenes From An Alternate Universe Where The Beatles Accepted Lorne Michaels’ Generous Offer.

* Ezra Klein: Four ways to end the filibuster. Related: Steve Benen, Harold Meyerson, Kevin Drum.

* GOP Death Spiral Watch: Lindsay Graham censured by the South Carolina GOP for acknowledging the existence of climate change.

* Salon: Wes Anderson’s take on Roald Dahl is possibly the best movie about family, community and poultry thievery ever made.

Sanfordmania

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South Carolina state house Republicans are meeting this weekend to discuss “what it would take to force the Republican governor out and how the process would work.” Amazed he’s held on this long.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 25, 2009 at 6:52 pm

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Infinite Politics Thursday

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Infinite linkdump Thursday, just politics.

* The Mark Sanford story grows stranger by the day, with 19 South Carolina politicians now on the record calling for his resignation. (TPM reports that Senators DeMint and Graham have gone to Sanford to prevail on him to resign.) Today he backed off a pledge to release his travel records, which suggests more trouble may be brewing for him.

* Who could have imagined that Exxon-Mobil would lie about its continued support for climate-change “skepticism” advocacy groups?

* Highlights from the first day of the Al Franken Century.

* Democrats can now “hijack elections at their whim”: just another responsible, measured, and most of all empirically provable claim from RNC chairman Michael Steele, truly our country’s finest elder statesman.

* But it’s not all craziness: Michele Bachmann is facing criticism from the GOP for her weird lies about the Census.

* What caused the financial crisis? Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (via MeFi) points to bubble economies nutured and created by giant investment firms, pointing the finger especially at Goldman Sachs. An Oklahoma lawmaker says it was “abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery.” I report, you decide.

* Malthusianism and world history: a chart from Conor Clarke.

It’s clear these growth trends can continue forever.

* Ezra Klein has a new Washington Post column on the politics of food.

Late Night Friday

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Late night Friday.

* As expected, Waxman-Markey passed the House earlier tonight, despite the usual deranged opposition. (Voting breakdown from FiveThirtyEight.) Ezra and Matt pour over a chart that demonstrates just how little this will cost, despite what Republicans are claiming, while Grist considers whether cap and trade has ever actually achieved its stated goals. I’m disappointed with the bill and terrified about what the Senate will pass.

* MoveOn will target Kay Hagan for her opposition to the public option. Good.

* Froomkin’s last column at the Washington Post takes the media to task for completely failing us over the last few decade.

And while this wasn’t as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it’s now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long. The handful of people who did exceptional investigative reporting during this era really deserve our gratitude: People such as Ron Suskind, Seymour Hersh, Jane Mayer, Murray Waas, Michael Massing, Mark Danner, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (better late than never), Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Charlie Savage and Philippe Sands; there was also some fine investigative blogging over at Talking Points Memo and by Marcy Wheeler. Notably not on this list: The likes of Bob Woodward and Tim Russert. Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

* But I think Ezra Klein makes the point more strongly:

I think that analytically honest political commentators right now should be struggling with a pretty hard choice: Do you try to maximize the possibility of good, if still insufficient, outcomes? Or do you admit what many people already know and say that our political process has gone into total system failure and the overriding priority is building the long-term case for structural reform of America’s lawmaking process? Put another way, can you really solve any of our policy problems until you solve our fundamental political problem? And don’t think about it in terms of when your team is in power. Think of it in terms of the next 30 years, and the challenges we face.

* Posthumously cleared after twenty-five years. Via MeFi.

* We had to lie about Sotomayor because we’re still mad about Robert Bork. Right. Of course.

* More on how Obama forced Mark Sanford to shirk his responsibilities and flee the country. This is politics at its worst.

* I’m with Joe Strummer: If you don’t like Springsteen you’re a pretentious Martian from Venus. Via Shankar D.

* And of course we’re still coming to terms with Michael Jackson:
Web grinds to a halt after Michael Jackson dies. Secret library of 100 songs could be released. Google mistakes the explosion of searches for an attack. Spike in SMS traffic outpaces 9/11. Will Bruno face a last-minute edit? (Some of these via @negaratduke.)

Bad Advice from Alec Baldwin

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Bad advice from Alec Baldwin (via Kottke, who gets this wrong too):

Now is a wonderful opportunity to show the country what Democrats/liberals/progressives/unaligned learned from the Clinton era. Whatever personal problems that public officials deal with privately, leave them alone. This could happen to anyone, in any state, regardless of party. Why make the voters of South Carolina suffer while Sanford is skewered? If he wants to resign, so be it. If not, let him deal with it in private.

Kottke goes on to criticize Huffington Post and TPM for diving so wholeheartedly into the mud on this. And he’s right—sex scandals are non-stories and should be treated as such. (Olbermann’s glee, for instance, was actively painful to watch last night.) But that doesn’t mean the Sanford story isn’t important or that the man shouldn’t resign. Though the media seems strangely uninterested in this fact, Sanford skipped town (skipped the whole country!) for a week without telling anyone where he was going, and in fact actively misled his staff about his whereabouts. There are powers that only governors can exercise; it’s wildly irresponsible for him to pull a stunt like this no matter what’s going on in his personal life, and if that’s the level of judgment he exercises when dealing with the state’s business he obviously needs to resign. Governing a state is serious business, and a serious responsibility; Sanford blew it off, and so he needs to resign or else be impeached. That’s the only aspect of this story that’s newsworthy and the only one we should be talking about, no matter how salacious the details or egregious the apparent hypocrisy.

UPDATE: But don’t take my word for it; even “Chainsaw” Charles Krauthammer says Sanford has to go.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 25, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Sanford on the Teevee

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Mark Sanford’s political career is ending at the press conference going on now. It’s painful to watch: after an awkward introduction that sung the praises of the Appalachian Trail, he segued into apologies to (so far) his kids, wife, staff, political supporters, parents-in-law, and the people of South Carolina. He hasn’t said yet what he’s apologizing for, but it’s not looking good.

UPDATE: Yeah, he’s been cheating on his wife. But that’s the B-story—he ran off for a week without telling anybody on his staff what he was doing or where he was going. He’s obviously got to resign the governorship. Hopefully the reporters have the sense to ask the right questions here, not just the salacious ones.

UPDATE 2: So far the reporters have stuck entirely to salacious questions about his marriage and his mistress. Well done, fellows. What about the state responsibilities he shirked? Can we get some real questions here?

UPDATE 3: Okay, finally we’re getting some real questions about the fact that he lied to his staff about where he was going. (He admits he did.) And it’s at that moment he runs off the podium, to audible questions about whether he will resign.

UPDATE 4: The coverage on MSNBC has been amazingly bad. We’ve had a parade of Republicans and political analysts with deep solemnity praising Sanford’s “honesty” and explaining that no one should try to “make political hay” out of this. (Quoted language was obviously in the distributed talking points.) The man was caught at the airport by a reporter after changing his flight plans to try to avoid the press, after lying to his staff and ditching his official responsibilities for no good reason. To turn this into some morality play is soap opera coverage at its absolute worst. The adultery is irrelevant and the “honesty” a joke. It’s about the job he was elected to do.

When will we get a real press corps?

UPDATE 5: According to the Kos thread, even Fox is handling this better:

11:55AM: Fox’s Bill Sammon just layed down the law, all but saying Mark Sanford was done. Given Sammon’s influence over Fox political coverage, that’s pretty much a political death sentence even in the land of wingnuttia.

UPDATE 6: Someone at MSNBC must be watching Fox; Tamron Hall just called bullshit on everything MSNBC broadcast over the last hour and did a great job doing it, explicitly downplaying the soap opera in favor of the job issues in the process.

UPDATE 6: And of course Fox hardly deserves full marks.

Another accident! What are the odds? Curse the luck!

Mark Sanford Watch

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You’ll be glad to know South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been found. He was, of course, in Argentina. Edge of the American West sums it all up:

What he was doing there remains unclear. The governor claimed he was simply driving along the coast line in Argentina. The Appalachian Trail, his original destination, proved unattractive:

The Republican governor told the South Carolina newspaper he decided at the last minute to go to the South American country. The governor says he had considered hiking on the Appalachian Trail but wanted to do something “exotic.”

So he flew to Argentina to drive the coast. The problem, as the Associated Press pointed out, is that driving the coast in Argentina is not all that easy:

Trying to make such a drive could frustrate a weekend visitor to Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the Avenida Costanera is the only coastal road, and it’s less than two miles long. Reaching coastal resorts to the south requires a drive of nearly four hours on an inland highway with views of endless cattle ranches. To the north is a river delta of islands reached only by boat.

TPM wants it made clear that Sanford and his staff didn’t “come clean” about this; Sanford was caught coming off a plane after a reporter received a tip. ThinkProgress wants to know why they lied in the first place. Weirder and weirder.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention this in the original post, but as Neil points out in the comments, of course it’s winter there.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 24, 2009 at 2:59 pm

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Monday Late Night Politics

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Monday late night politics.

* Strange things are happening in South Carolina, where Governor Mark Sanford has been missing for four days. Reports are that the governor has made contact, but the governor’s office won’t confirm that’s true. (UPDATE: The governor’s office is now saying that Sanford is on the Appalachian Trail, a mere 2000 miles long.)

* Waxman-Markey Watch: In the comments Alex drops an A-bomb to describe one of the key antagonists on this bill, Colin Peterson. Apparently the bill is unlikely to be debated this week. Yale e360 had a roundup of opinions on Waxman-Markey that’s worth reading, with Climate Progress providing a roundup of the roundup. Krugman (also via CP) had a recent column on the bill, too, coming out in favor of it.

* Mexico has decriminalized small amounts of drugs. Good.

* ‘Eco-Friendly Meat Could Begin With Mini-Cows.’ Gross.

* Dystopia is now: Bill Simmon takes a good, hard look at reports that Lancaster, PA, will soon be putting in so many security cameras that it will take a volunteer Stasi comprised of local busybodies to watch them all and determines that this may be the least worst alternative for our privacy-robbed future. Frankly I think Bill’s got this one wrong: open-source surveillance is a police state, just one with slightly better branding. Call me Sisyphus Q. Luddite if you must but I don’t think panoptic surveillance is some historical inevitability; it can and should be resisted, not embraced.

* And Ta-Nehisi Coates calls for a reality check regarding Martin Luther King. (NB: He’s already walked the post back.)

Written by gerrycanavan

June 23, 2009 at 2:49 am

You’re Doing It Wrong

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The Obama administration has rejected South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s bid to waste $700 million in stimulus spending on debt repayment, as derided previously.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 17, 2009 at 12:23 am

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Miscellany

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Miscellany.

* Republicans have successfully transitioned from passively rooting for Obama to fail to actively sabotaging the economy. Well done, fellows.

* Views from the other universe: Ricky Gervais v. Elmo.

* Lots of people are linking to “the fifteen strangest college courses in America.” Maybe this just demonstrates how far out of the mainstream Duke Lit is, but most of these seem perfectly cromulent to me.

* The economics of March Madness: how excessive spending on sports is a money-loser for nearly every Division I school. Marc Bousquet was right!

Sunday Morning Politics Linkdump

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Sunday morning politics linkdump. Sorry for all these linkdumps, by the way—it was a busy week. Next week should see a return to a little bit more sustained commentary (including the exciting return of debate liveblogging!).

* There have been some interesting debates about poll biases lately. Ron Fournier (grumble) at the AP covers a study that argues Obama would be further ahead were it not for racial animus, by as many as six points. FiveThirtyEight throws cold water on this, as well as looking closely at the possibility of a “cellphone effect” in the polls. If Obama does 2.8% better in polls that include cellphones, that suggests a shifting map like the one below, turning Virginia light-blue and strengthening small Dem leads in Ohio and Colorado.

* A study from political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that Obama will win, when all is said and done, with 54% of the popular vote. That he’s naively comparing historical models with this year’s unprecedentedly diverse tickets in both camps shows how seriously we should take this analysis.

* A new PPP poll shows North Carolina tied. Other recent polls show South Carolina within six, West Virginia within four, and MontanVoteRonPaula within two.

* There’s evidence of a “Palin effect” in Florida driving undecided voters to Obama.

* The Spine tries to get a handle on Obama’s early-voting advantage, beginning as early as this Friday in Virginia. The second link has some stats of interest for Dukies and Durham residents:

In addition, more early-voting centers are being located at colleges and universities, a change that significantly affects student turnout. Students at the University of North Carolina and N.C. State were able to vote on campus throughout the two weeks leading up to North Carolina’s primary contest in April. At Duke University, however, students had to make their way to voting sites in the city of Durham. While turnout for Durham County was 52% in the Democratic primary, only 11% of eligible Duke students voted. This fall, however, Duke will have its own early-voting center, open for business starting Oct. 16.

* The McCain camp has successfully demanded the VP debate rules be changed to protect Sarah Palin.

*Judge orders Cheney not to destroy his VP records.

* SNL mocked McCain this week. He also preemptively mocked himself with an article in Contingencies arguing (for reals) that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” Straight out of the Dept. of Bad Timing. Obama’s already taken aim at this.

* Will Obama raise my taxes? A helpful widget.

* And American Stranger has a long post on ideology that seems to take as one starting point my post on Slavoj Žižek, Obama Supporter. Essentially Ryan takes aim at the various binds the Left finds itself in with regard to political action, and I largely agree with what he says—though I certainly hope I wasn’t in mind as his example of sell-out “liberal ‘pragmatism’ a la The New Republic.” My point, both in the earlier post and now in this one, is simply that the U.S. President has a tremendous ability to make life better or worse for real people with real lives, all over the world, many of whom (believe it or not!) do not have cushy long-term contracts with elite universities. Naderite “Oh, they’re all the same!” negativity only makes sense to people who are inoculated by class and privilege from the consequences of that power.

The mere recognition that the perfect not be the enemy of the good doesn’t quite throw my lot in with TNR, I don’t think, and certainly not so long as we also keep in mind that the good not be the enemy of the better. Our discomfort with pragmatic compromises—and we should be discomforted by them, every time and in every case—isn’t by itself a reason not to be pragmatic.