Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Ted Kennedy

But I Haven’t Left Yet

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* Lebron has hurt everyone, but especially the weak heart of my beloved Cleveland. Nate Silver tries to put a number on the damage he’s done to his reputation playing Hamlet.

* A federal judge has unexpectedly struck down the parts of the Defense of Marriage Act that define marriage as being between a man and a woman. There’s more at MeFi, including a link to a post from Jack Balkin that suggests this could actually be a kind of right-wing Trojan Horse designed to undermine the juridical basis for New Deal government.

* Worst lemon-to-lemonade analogy ever.

* Science proves I was right all along when I said my high school started too early in the morning.

* Žižek blogs about BP. You know what’s coming.

The lesson is simply that, while market mechanisms may work up to a certain level to contain ecological damage, serious large-scale ecological catastrophies are simply out of their reach – any pseudo-scientific statistic talk about “sustainable risks” is ridiculous here. More than two decades ago, a paparazzo caught Senator Ted Kennedy (well known for his opposition to the off-shore drilling in search of oil) in the midst of the sexual act on a lone boat off Louisiana shore; during a Senate debate a couple of days later, a Republican Senator dryly remarked: “It seems that Senator Kennedy now changed his position on off-shore drilling…” So maybe, we should return to Senator Kennedy’s position: the only acceptable off-shore drilling is the one he was engaged in.

More Žižek here.

* Of all sad words of mouth or pen, The saddest are these: “It might have been”: 55% Of Likely Voters Think Obama’s A Socialist.

Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?

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Last seen reminding state agencies how they can and should legally discriminate against homosexuals, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is already promising to file a legal challenge to tonight’s health care bill. This of course leads us to another exciting round of “Is Health Care Reform Constitutional?” Tonight’s contestant is Randy E. Barnett of Georgetown Law, writing in the Washington Post. Barnett appears much more agnostic on the specific legal questions involved than previous contestants like Erwin Chemerinsky, focusing instead on the aggressive radicality of the Roberts majority:

But what if five justices think the legislation was carried bleeding across the finish line on a party-line vote over widespread bipartisan opposition? What if control of one or both houses of Congress flips parties while lawsuits are pending? Then there might just be five votes against regulating inactivity by compelling citizens to enter into a contract with a private company. This legislation won’t go into effect tomorrow. In the interim, it is far more vulnerable than if some citizens had already started to rely upon its benefits.

If this sounds far-fetched, consider another recent case in which the smart money doubted there were five votes to intervene in a politicized controversy involving technical procedures. A case in which five justices may have perceived that long-established rules were being gamed for purely partisan advantage.

You might have heard of it: Bush v. Gore.

Of course I worry about this, because I think Roberts, Scalia, Alito, and Thomas would overturn health care in a heartbeat, on whatever spurious ground presented itself. But while I don’t always agree with him, I think Kennedy has integrity, and I don’t think he would go along with it. (Have to admit, though, I’ve never been more sad to have to say “no relation”…)

The Day After

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* Hoping that lemming-like Congressional Democrats have worked through their little collective freakout over the course of the day and can get back to work with their historic majorities in both houses tomorrow. Seems like maybe they have. Just this once, you idiots, do what the GOP would do. Just shut up and pass the bill.

* Of course, it’s easier to blame the Left, which, having given up everything and gotten nothing all year, is obviously to blame for everything. It’s not like the Democrats ever wanted to actually do anything with their power anyway.

* Dow drops 200 on Brown’s win. Eagerly awaiting Fox’s mea culpa.

* The bill that the Senate Democrats passed did not substantially restructure the system of private insurance, nor the health care delivery system. It did not include a public option. It did, rather, about the minimum that you could do if you want to prevent people with pre-existing conditions from being denied health care. You can’t require insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions unless you’re willing to put a mandate into place (otherwise, everyone’s premiums would rise substantially). And you can’t put a mandate into place without having some reasonably generous subsidies (otherwise, a lot of folks would go broke.) The Senate’s bill was about the least radical way to achieve something approaching universal coverage that can be imagined. It was nevertheless a bill that I think would do a tremendous amount of good for tremendous number of people, and so I’ve advocated for its passage. But with the possible exception of Wyden-Bennett (which not identifiably left or right although much more radical than what the Congress is considering), virtually any attempt to achieve universal coverage would be further to the left of this bill. Post-Partisanship Epic Fail.

* BREAKING: The Senate is still broken.

* If I’m understanding Steve King right, God crashed the economy, killed Ted Kennedy, nominated a weak Democrat who couldn’t campaign as his replacement, and finally put Scott Brown in the Senate all in order to stop health care reform at the last second. Sort of a roundabout way to use your omnipotence, but then again He’s always worked in mysterious ways.

* Or maybe God, knowing the House could pass tomorrow health care tomorrow if it wanted, actually doesn’t want climate change legislation. Because he’s sick and tired of our screw-ups and wants us gone, I guess.

* At least Glenn Beck’s having a bad day too. More: He’s paranoid about Palin pulling a Leno.

Friday Links

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* Good job numbers suggest the recession could be bottoming out. Of course, you can’t please everyone.

* BREAKING: Ben Bernanke is kind of a douche.

* Ted Kennedy may be gone, but John Kerry still won’t support the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.

* In a new piece in Vanity Fair, Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater/Xe, turns out to have been CIA. Via MeFi. What’s next for this real-life Bond villain?

For the time being, however, Prince contends that his plans are far more modest. “I’m going to teach high school,” he says, straight-faced. “History and economics. I may even coach wrestling. Hey, Indiana Jones taught school, too.”

* New Jersey to pave million-year-old dinosaur footprints to put up parking lot. Okay, actually condos.

* Can humans reproduce in zero gravity?

This finding casts into doubt the science fictional notion that human beings can survive in zero gravity or in the microgravity environment of large asteroids.

* Could a super-advanced civilization live inside the acretion disk, the super-dense area around the black hole at the center of a galaxy?

* The headline reads, “Prostitutes Offer Free Climate Summit Sex.”

Copenhagen Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard sent postcards to city hotels warning summit guests not to patronize Danish sex workers during the upcoming conference. Now, the prostitutes have struck back, offering free sex to anyone who produces one of the warnings.

* Sarah Palin goes birther.

The other thing that struck me about her interview was her contention that she didn’t go after Obama enough during the election, and namely, that avoiding the birther thing was a mistake. I suppose she could have gone completely off the deep end during the campaign, and certainly it seems she wanted to but was held back by McCain, but good god, who in their right mind thinks she wasn’t enough on the attack? She accused Obama, through implication, of being a terrorist. She did so in a way that maximized the anti-Muslim insinuation, even though neither Barack Obama nor Bill Ayers (who is the excuse for this rumor-mongering) is Muslim, making the whole thing not only racist but incoherent. She went out of her way to imply that anyone who was not white or lived in a city was not a Real American. She red-baited Obama. She did everything but tell jokes about his mom. Her entire campaign strategy was to attack Obama. I fail to see how she could have done more, honestly. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

* And science proves Rousseau was right: God created man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor.

Shall Never Die

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The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die: Sen. Ted Kennedy has died.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

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DNC Day 1 Wrapup

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Michelle Obama finished speaking not too long ago. She’s been called Barack’s secret weapon, and she clearly is—that was one of the better-delivered political speeches I’ve ever seen, especially given the difficult dual contexts of rehabilitating Michelle’s public image and winning over still-suspicious Hillary voters. She was quite literally perfect.

I was almost too nervous to watch the Ted Kennedy tribute and speech; contrary to the way I saw it described on television, it seemed to me that Kennedy was extremely frail and liable to collapse at any moment.

But perhaps the most serious news tonight is the revelation of an apparent assassination plot: at first it seemed to be merely two meth addicts with rifles, but now “at least” four people are under arrest

Written by gerrycanavan

August 26, 2008 at 3:08 am

Kennedy in Durham

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Ted Kennedy has reportedly undergone successful brain surgery right here in Durham at Duke Medical Center.

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June 2, 2008 at 10:09 pm

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Nothing Bad Ever Happens to the Kennedys

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CNN is reporting that Ted Kennedy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

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May 20, 2008 at 5:20 pm

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Morning After Politics Minute

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Noam Scheiber at TNR writes about “the redemption of Ted Kennedy”—as if anyone who was seriously paying attention to this race could have ever denied the big effect Kennedy had and continues to have—as well as echoing the consensus here that John Edwards has plainly missed his moment:

Now that pretty much every last Edwards supporter has decamped for Obama, does anyone think Edwards is getting them back for Hillary? Does anyone think Obama would feel indebted if Edwards were to come his way?

Meanwhile, at TPM, I see that Rudy Giuliani’s campaign managed has given his official seal of approval to the Clinton strategy:

“Clearly, she has had success in larger states and there are a whole bunch of delegates at stake on March 4,” Mr. DuHaime said. “They are not trying to figure out who can win the most states; they are trying to figure out who can win the most delegates.”

John Marshall rightly calls it a kiss of death.

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February 13, 2008 at 1:37 pm

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Endosement News!

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Obama endorsement news! But still not any of the ones were hoping for. California SEIU, once supporting Edwards, is now endorsing Obama, as is (for the first time in its history) and Seattle’s mayor, Greg Nickels. The big one today is the L.A. Times, endorsing a presidential candidate for the first time since 1972. But the most important media hype of the week may still be Ted Kennedy’s twenty-minute appearance on El Piolín, a Spanish-language radio show which, despite the fact I’ve never heard of it, is the most popular radio show in America, beating Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh every weekday morning.

Having already gotten two endorsement predictions wrong so far today, I’m not putting any stock in this, but I must say I find the unsourced and unfounded speculation in this comment at Kos about the 70,000 person venue Obama has chosen for his Saturday night rally in St. Louis very interesting…

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February 1, 2008 at 10:22 pm

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Addendum for Bald People Trying to Keep Hope Alive

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Jaimee points me to Al Giordano of The Field’s analysis of the Survey USA California poll, which he says uses an improperly tight likely voter screen that simply doesn’t reflect the massive turnout we’ve been seeing. Properly weighing the results of the poll, he says, it looks a hell of a lot closer:

Clinton 43.2
Obama 42.4

And again, that’s before the bump from either South Carolina or Kennedy has registered.

Take it all with a grain of salt, but keep hope alive. He’s also got more grist for the startling-New-York-upset mill, with a look at the tabloid treatment of the Kennedy endorsement and the Clinton campaign’s subsequent Spanish-language ad blitz there. He’s also hinting rather strongly that the Obama campaign has an ace up its sleeve for tonight…

GRASPING-AT-STRAWS UPDATE: And why is the Clinton camp canceling scheduled conference calls and TV appearances?

ALSO: Josh Marshall cryptically writes that there is “already chatter” that the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates may go to court. I’ve written before, as recently as half an hour ago, that this situation is a disaster waiting to happen. The only good thing about it going to court is that we’ll have an answer well before the convention—that, and the fact that the Clintons will get a lot of “Sore Loserman” press over suing the DNC while Obama, if he’s smart, will float nicely above the fray.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 29, 2008 at 9:08 pm


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In all the hoopla surrounding South Carolina and the Kennedy endorsement, it’s tough to remember that Obama is still heading into Super Duper Tuesday at a significant disadvantage, especially in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey. (Note: as of 2 PM on 1/29 the charts on haven’t taken South Carolina and the possible Kennedy bump into consideration yet.) But there’s reason to be hopeful—the latest Survey USA poll has him down 11 points, 49 to 38, up from 15 points down two weeks ago and 30 points down in December. Nor have the polls been especially reliable this time around; the likely voter models haven’t really been reliable in any state, most recently and most notably in South Carolina, where a twelve-point projected victory turned into twenty-eight points.

The always reliable Douchebag of Liberty Bob Novak writes in the Washington Post today that Clinton’s lead in California may be significantly softer than it looks:

Clinton’s double-digit lead in California polls over Sen. Barack Obama is misleading. Subtract a Latino voting bloc whose dependability to show up on Election Day always has been shaky, and Clinton is no better than even here, with Obama gaining.

The poll’s demographics are more important. Clinton has dramatically lost support among blacks, now trailing Obama 58 percent to 24 percent. It is a virtual dead heat among white non-Hispanics, 32 percent to 30 percent. The 12-point overall lead derives from a 59 percent to 19 percent Clinton edge among Latinos.

In California, the Latino vote is notoriously undependable in actual voting, especially when compared with African American turnout.

Novak also notes that independents (who can only vote in the Democratic primary in California) and young voters (who are notoriously unpredictable) are two additional wild cards that may work in Obama’s favor.

In the New York Times, David Brooks echoes the thoughts of a lot of people when he writes that “something fundamental has shifted in the Democratic party”:

Then, in the speech’s most striking passage, he set Bill Clinton afloat on the receding tide of memory. “There was another time,” Kennedy said, “when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a New Frontier.” But, he continued, another former Democratic president, Harry Truman, said he should have patience. He said he lacked experience. John Kennedy replied: “The world is changing. The old ways will not do!”

The audience at American University roared. It was mostly young people, and to them, the Clintons are as old as the Trumans were in 1960. And in the students’ rapture for Kennedy’s message, you began to see the folding over of generations, the service generation of John and Robert Kennedy united with the service generation of the One Campaign. The grandparents and children united against the parents.

Matt Yglesias and his commentators even offer some slim hope for a close finish in New York City and State, albeit with a possible assist from the Good Lord himself:

A big icestorm upstate and a light rainstorm in the city on Feb 5 could be very good for Obama. Remember there is no early voting in NYS. To vote absentee you have to specify a reason why you can’t make it to the polls.

All I’m trying to say is this: Keep hope alive, bald people.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Monday Night Links

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Monday night and the feeling’s right.

* If you haven’t been back to the now-infamous Statue of Liberty post, I’ve updated it about twelve times with a ton of new images. According to Google Analytics, that page’s been viewed over 26,000 times, which is pretty incredible.

* has video of the Ted Kennedy endorsement, which looks to be an even bigger deal than I’d hoped.

* Schlumberger, the oil-field-services giant that has acquired microwave technology intended to free petroleum from oil shale, won’t bring the technique to western Colorado immediately.

The Green River Formation of western Colorado, eastern Utah and southwest Wyoming contains the equivalent of an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of crude oil, enough, Raytheon said, to meet current U.S. demand for 250 years. We’re saved!

* And it’s a good thing too; today is the 50th anniversary of history’s greatest invention, LEGO, which like everything else is made from sweet, sweet oil.

* Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair: the desert reclaims the town of Kolmanskop in Namibia. Via

Written by gerrycanavan

January 28, 2008 at 10:56 pm

The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die

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As Democrats we recognize that each generation of Americans has a rendezvous with a different reality. The answers of one generation become the questions of the next generation. But there is a guiding star in the American firmament. It is as old as the revolutionary belief that all people are created equal, and as clear as the contemporary condition of Liberty City and the South Bronx. Again and again Democratic leaders have followed that star and they have given new meaning to the old values of liberty and justice for all.

We are the party—We are the party of the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the New Frontier. We have always been the party of hope. So this year let us offer new hope, new hope to an America uncertain about the present, but unsurpassed in its potential for the future.

Ted Kennedy’s concession speech at the Democratic National Convention, 1980. Here’s YouTube. (Via.)

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January 27, 2008 at 4:59 pm

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Obama Endorsement Watch: Here Comes Ted?

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A whole lot of people got off the bench in the last few days and endorsed Obama: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The San Francisco Chronicle. The big one today is of course Caroline Kennedy’s in The New York Times, which is getting almost as much play as Obama’s thrashing of the Clintons in South Carolina last night:

‘A President Like My Father’

I have never had a president who inspired me the way people tell me that my father inspired them. But for the first time, I believe I have found the man who could be that president — not just for me, but for a new generation of Americans.

Last night this seemed like the closest we were going to get to Ted Kennedy saying “This man is the second coming of my two murdered brothers”—except I just heard George Stephanopoulos on The Week say that Ted Kennedy is going to endorse Obama after all, and Obama non-deny it, based on Mark Halprin’s report here.

Still, the question remains: Where is Al Gore? My gut instinct—based almost entirely on wishful thinking and my worshipful respect for the post-2000 Al—is that he will endorse Obama in the last news cycle before February 5. But I have no idea.

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January 27, 2008 at 3:20 pm

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