Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘sovereignty

MLA’s Eve

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Timeline of the future: 1,000 years time to one hundred quintillion years.

* Link of the year: Teju Cole Wrote a Short Story on Twitter by Retweeting Others.

How Grad Students Built the MLA Subconference.

How much is college football worth to universities?

How to Bust an Adjunct Union.

* Should faculty strike? Pro and con.

* One hundred years of Lovecraft. Via Student Activism.

* The state of exception: Court Upholds Willy-Nilly Gadget Searches Along U.S. Border.

Can J.P. Morgan really go 2 years without breaking the law? I’ll take the under.

Top Christie Staff Sought Lane Closings as Revenge. Wow. Wow.

Notre Dame’s Moral Dilemma Over Birth Control. John Dear, Jesuit known for peace witness, dismissed from order. And from the archives: An Oklahoma high school suspended a 15-year-old student after accusing her of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick, lawyers for the student said on Friday.

New York City Murders Are Twice As Likely To Be Solved When The Victim Is White Instead Of Black.

Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct.

* Dallas shock: It turns out a cop can get fired for something.

Florida State University To Phase Out Academic Operations By 2010.

“I am a gun owner. It happens.”

* Bad for the brand: Ex-Gitmo Detainee, Released by Bush, Is Suspected in Benghazi Attack.

* The New Inquiry’s issue on “Bloodsport” is unusually great.

NFL Record Settlement for Traumatic Brain Injuries.

The American Studies Association Goes to Politics.

* A dolphin hypothesis.

Nature Bombshell: Observations Point To 10°F Warming by 2100. This is why I think geoengineering is inevitable, for better or for worse.

* The last monolingual speaker of Chickasaw has died.

* And congratulations Milwaukee, the 10th worst-run city in the US.

‘Lawlessness Is How a State Proves Itself Sovereign’

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To argue about whether or not the US’s attack on Syria would be legal—and to bicker and argue about whether or not the use of chemical weapons is outlawed, or simply breaks an international “norm”—is to maintain the fiction that the world is governed by a system of voluntary contractual obligations, to pretend that—as Hobbes and Locke and contract theory more generally demand—the behavior of international actors is regulated and controlled by a sovereign set of rules and laws that we have all, at some primal originary moment, agreed to be regulated by.

zunguzungu on American foreign policy and Syria.

To embody the sovereign will of the United States—to be the world’s only superpower, the world policeman—is to be bound by the logic of arbitrary power, to be forced to occupy and preserve the state of exception in which American exceptionalism is founded. Because the United States is powerful, it has the power to decide where and how and when and to whom the rules apply. If it does not have that power, it is not powerful; if it is not powerful, it is not the United States. The stakes for every American president, then, are existential. If Syria is allowed to cross the red line unpunished, it will threaten the very basis of American identity, the exceptionalism which makes America the solitary sovereign actor on the world stage. Punishing them for doing so—with a handful of inconsequential cruise missiles or even a more aggressive and disastrous bombing campaign—would accomplish no more than re-instating that narrative, that the United States is, still, the decider. But that’s all its meant to accomplish.

Bonus Syria Links, just to highlight the absurdity of all this:

* U.S. Had Intel on Chemical Strike Before It Was Launched

* Persistent reports and rumors that the rebels may actually be behind the chemical weapons attacks, which, while dubious, suggest a truly postmodern resolution to the crisis.

* And this from Timothy Burke: It’s becoming clear that the Iraq War, contrary to the dearest wishes of its most lunatic devotees, was the Suez of the Pax Americana, that moment that comes in the life of most empires, however they’re configured, where they are goaded into a florid, expensive attempt to secure a distant frontier and end up proving only that the core no longer has and never will again have the resources or reputation to succeed in such attempts.

The laws we are allowed to break and why

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The laws we are allowed to break and why, by Columbia Law professor Tim Wu at Slate. One noteworthy example:

In the Unites States, using a computer to download obscenity is a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison. Federal law makes it a crime to use “a computer service” to transport over state lines “any obscene, lewd, lascivious, or filthy book, pamphlet, picture, motion-picture film, paper, letter, writing, print, or other matter of indecent character.”

Under the plain reading of the statute, most men in the United States may be felons. Statistics on the downloading of “lewd pictures” are notoriously unreliable, but according to some surveys, 70 percent of men have admitted to visiting pornographic sites at some point. Many such sites are probably obscene under the Supreme Court’s definition of obscenity—that is, they, according to community standards, “appeal to the prurient interest,” depict “sexual conduct” in an patently offensive way, and lack “serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.”

Today, despite these laws, there are very few prosecutions centered on mainstream adult pornography. Over the last decade, and without the repeal of a single law, the United States has quietly and effectively put its adult obscenity laws into a deep coma, tolerating their widespread violation with little notice or fanfare. Today’s obscenity enforcement has a new face: It is targeted against “harmful” porn (that is, child pornography and highly violent or abusive materials) and “public” porn, or indecency in the public media. This enormous transformation has occurred without any formal political action. And it illuminates just how America changes law in sensitive areas like obscenity: not so much through action as through neglect.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 20, 2007 at 12:12 am

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