Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘wiretapping

Exactly the Right Number of Finely Curated, Carefully Selected Links from Around the Time My Computer Crashed Last Week to Around the Time I Got It Back This Week

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* CFP: “TechnoLogics: Power and Resistance.” CFP: Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy.

* I have an essay in this new open-access book, Materialism and the Critique of Energy: “Peak Oil after Hydrofracking.” It’s a bit of a departure from my usual work but I thought it came out well… Check it out!

* Kim Stanley Robinson makes the left’s case for geoengineering. And from Peter Frase: Geoengineering for the People.

* The Buffy Not-a-Reboot: A Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come.

How author Nnedi Okorafor found her identity.

* Fascinating presentation on the SF writing market. Lots to think about here.

Inside the World of Racist Science Fiction. What can we learn from the utopians of the past?

* Why are there so many staircases in space?

* We were halfway through 2018 when the drugs began to take hold.

* Brexit: That Sinking Feeling. This is what a no-deal Brexit actually looks like.

Reading Your Problematic Fave: David Foster Wallace, feminism and #metoo. And a report from the 2018 David Foster Wallace Conference, partially a profile of my college classmate Ryan Edel.

Most academic books aren’t written to be read—they’re written to be “broken.” That should change.

* How to Prepare a Diversity Statement.

* When you’re the only person in your department.

* When your students (might) record you. A good thread on the subject from Angus Johnson.

* Teaching in a red county after Trump.

* Now he tells us! Mea culpa: there *is* a crisis in the humanities.

* I get it.

We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second. Motherhood in the Age of Fear.

* Nintendo announces Labo Kit #3.

* Astounding finalist images for Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions.

Where the Super-Rich Go to Buy Their Second Passport.

Time to Take Sexism in Post-Secondary Education Seriously.

* So much of our culture has been shaped by predators.

* Federal judge allows emoluments case against Trump to proceed. Trump’s ‘emoluments’ battle: How a scholar’s search of 200 years of dictionaries helped win a historic ruling.

These Three Immigrant Families Were Just Reunited After Months Apart. Here Are Their Stories. A Migrant Boy Rejoins His Mother, but He’s Not the Same. A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Sexually Abused in an Immigrant-Detention Center. A child has died following her stay at an ICE Detention Center, as a result of possible negligent care and a respiratory illness she contracted from one of the other children. Immigrant Youth Shelters: “If You’re a Predator, It’s a Gold Mine.” Deportations take unique toll on blended American families. Hundreds of separated parents potentially deported. Deleted families. ICE agents pressured parents to be deported with their children — then separated them again when they refused. Suicide in ICE Custody. ‘Like I am trash’: Migrant children reveal stories of detention, separation. ICE snatches 25-year Minnesota resident from his family in harrowing video. A Father and Son Were Finally Reunited. Later that Day, the Government Ripped Them Apart Again. ‘Why Did You Leave Me?’ The Migrant Children Left Behind as Parents Are Deported. They were warned. It’s happening here. Don’t doubt it for a second. The Number Of Parents Who Were Deported Without Their Children Keeps Growing. Separated Parents Were “Totally Unaware” They Had Waived Their Right To Be Reunified With Their Children. Baby took first steps, spoke first words while in US custody: report. Florida Cops Ship 24-Year-Old Mom to ICE After She Paid Traffic Ticket. This Immigrant Returned To Her Dangerous Home Country — Where She’d Been Raped — After Having A Miscarriage In A US Detention Center. A mother and her son turned up for a domestic-violence case. Then ICE arrested them. A Philadelphia immigration judge was removed from a high-profile case and replaced with a judge who would order the man in the case immediately deported, a move that smacks of judicial interference by the Trump administration, according to a letter signed by a group of retired judges this week. From Crib To Court: Trump Administration Summons Immigrant Infants. Activist judges up to their old tricks. ICE Raids in New York. Philadelphia won’t share information with ICE in big win for activists. Pizza Delivery Man Pablo Villavicencio Freed From Immigration Detention. Protests and petitions call on universities to end their contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Swedish student stops deportation of Afghan man with protest streamed on Facebook.

The Trump administration is bullying trans kids, and it’s up to us to stop it. Transgender women say the US government is revoking their passports. Documenting the Trans Generation: Kids, Families and the Fight for Rights.

Q is a massively successful, deranged conspiracy/entertainment brand/game with roots in prior vile conspiracies like Pizza- and Gamergate. And many Trump supporters LOVE it. Flashback: What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, Explained.

* I’m stuck in Guantanamo. The world has forgotten me.

* They still haven’t fixed the water in Flint.

* Scenes from the class war in New York City, NYDN edition.

MSNBC has done 455 Stormy Daniels segments in the last year — but none on U.S. war in Yemen.

Brett Kavanaugh’s Legal Opinions Show He’d Give Donald Trump Unprecedented New Powers. Brett Kavanaugh Thinks Undocumented Workers Aren’t Really Employees Under The Law.

The over-under on the Supreme Court’s liberal minority cohort all continuing to draw breath is about five years.

Imagine being a Democratic senator & actually telling yourself you are “playing the long game” by not doing everything you can to stop a lifetime Supreme Court appointment that will shift the entire American judicial system for the rest of everyone’s lives.

* Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?

* Undaunted Democratic Centrists Ready to Fight Trump and Bernie at Same Time.

The Expressive Function of the Russia Freakout.

* Gasp! Portugal Dared to Cast Aside Austerity. It’s Having a Major Revival.

* Gasp! A New Zealand company that tried 4-day workweeks says people were more creative, more punctual, and more energetic — and they want to keep it going.

* Quiet Skies: Air Marshals are following thousands of random Americans through airports and on planes, for no articulatable purpose.

* Unidentifiable fossils: palaeontological problematica.

* The world’s first trillionaire may be an asteroid miner.

* Science fiction design after cyberpunk.

In all these cases we see a de-saturated view of the world, no longer neon on black, just a pall gray. Gone is the “Coolness” of Cyberpunk, now replaced by the “coolness” of a color palate that ranges from a flat blue to an olive drab with only slightly less than 50 shades of gray in between.

The Architecture of Evil: Dystopian Megacorps in Speculative Fiction Films.

* Sure, 1,000,000% inflation sounds bad.

* Understanding “Kokomo.”

Why ‘Sorry to Bother You’ Is 2018’s Sharpest Political Satire. “Crazy” Anticapitalism.

* The fracking of America.

In 2016, China imported two-thirds of the world’s plastic waste. So when China stopped buying the world’s discarded plastics, it threw markets into turmoil. Meanwhile: The Dirty Truth Is Your Recycling May Actually Go to Landfills.

The Hidden Environmental Cost of Amazon Prime’s Free, Fast Shipping.

The Carr Fire Is Officially One of the 10 Worst Wildfires in California History. California is burning (again). The common thread in California’s wildfires: heat like the state has never seen. If you want a vision of the future. If you want a vision of the future. If you want a vision of the future. How Did the End of the World Become Old News? It’s a big problem.

Climate change is supercharging a hot and dangerous summer. Arctic Circle wildfires rage on as blistering heat takes hold of northern Europe. Crop failure and bankruptcy threaten farmers as drought grips Europe. Scandinavia Is on Fire. In Greece, Wildfires Kill Dozens, Driving Some Into the Sea. Dozens Dead in Japan. Climate change means bigger Arctic spiders — but don’t worry, that could be a good thing.

* I suppose there’s just no one to blame.

Cows, trees, corn, and golf – how America uses its land.

* In America, land votes. More election maps! Emails show Michigan GOP bragged about cramming ‘Dem garbage’ into gerrymandered districts. Why the argument for democracy is now working for socialists rather than against them.

* The Hacking of America.

“Cooking Them to Death”: The Lethal Toll of Hot Prisons.

We’re Living a Constitutional Crisis. And despite this, there’s no way out.

* Libertarianism and white supremacy.

“I’m No Donna Reed”: Postfeminist Rhetoric in Christian At-Home Daughterhood Texts.

It’s hard realizing that you’re the bad guy, because then you have to do something about it. That’s why the most aggressive players on the gory stage of political melodrama act in such bad faith, hanging on to their own sense of persecution, mouthing the plagiarized playbook of an oppression they don’t comprehend because they don’t care to. These people have a way of fumbling through their self-set roles till the bloody final act, but if we can flip the script, we might yet stop the show.

Uber and Lyft Are Overwhelming Urban Streets, and Cities Need to Act Fast. Pave Over the Subway? Cities Face Tough Bets on Driverless Cars. Yes, the scooters are fun, but.

Mortgage, Groupon and card debt: how the bottom half bolsters U.S. economy.

EPA staff worried about toxic chemical exposure — for Pruitt.

NJ governor bought a women’s soccer team to inspire his daughter, but ran it into the ground.

There’s a New Scholarly Take on Mizzou’s Race Crisis, and Its Former Leaders Don’t Fare Well.

A case involving professors at Plymouth State U raises questions about when it’s OK to speak up for colleagues or students accused of sexual misconduct, if ever. In this case, professors defended former student who admitted to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old. The description honestly doesn’t do it justice; these letters of support are completely eye-popping under the circumstances.

* Number of patients suing USC over sex abuse claims tops 300 as faculty push for Nikias’ exit.

* Ex-Trump staffers should not get plum jobs at elite universities.

* Is Elizabeth Warren Running for President?

* How a Swiss Army Knife is made.

* The latest in the stadium scam.

What would motivate a company to give away 52,000 tablet computers for free? Can you crack this case, gumshoe?

* Bet it’s still a bit long.

A new report finds that big companies could have given their workers thousands of dollars’ worth of raises with the money they spent on their own shares. Are Stock Buybacks Starving the Economy?

* Let the computers be the doctors, they said.

* You don’t know me, computer!

* They’re real good at memes though.

* The anarchist roots of writing.

* Today in Sheriff Clarke news.

* Truly the Devil can quote Scripture for his purposes.

She Gave Millions to Artists Without Credit. Until Now.

* The Bayeux Tapestry with knobs on: what do the tapestry’s 93 penises tell us?

Game Studio With No Bosses Pays Everyone The Same.

* WorldCon is crisis (again).

* Twilight of James Gunn.

Conservative Think Tank Says Medicare For All Would Save $2 Trillion.

* Angelo Secchi, the Jesuit father of astrophysics.

* Wariness and wonder at a conference devoted to “Ancient Aliens.”

Conversation is impossible if one side refuses to acknowledge the basic premise that facts are facts. This is why engaging deniers in such an effort means having already lost. And it is why AskHistorians, where I am one of the volunteer moderators, takes a strict stance on Holocaust denial: We ban it immediately.

Locke & Key Has Been Ordered To Series. Flight of the Conchords is coming back. Disney’s Next Heroine Will Be an African Princess. Carrie Fisher Will Appear in Star Wars: Episode IX Via Unused Footage.  Shazam looks 90s-cable-level bad, though maybe I’ve just been persuaded that the character is irredeemable. In the First Trailer for Star Trek: Discovery Season 2, the U.S.S. Enterprise Boldly Arrives. And they’re making a Parable of the Sower graphic adaptation.

Inside J.R.R. Tolkien’s Notebooks, a Glimpse of the Master Philologist at Work.

* Uneven, but finding its voice: @moviegoofs.

* A People’s History of the Greatest Music Video of All Time, Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough.

The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News.

* A reporter went undercover as a Facebook moderator and was trained not to delete certain racist memes and images of child abuse.

* When factchecking backfires.

* History in an Age of Fake News.

* When a stranger decides to destroy your life.

* Orwell knew.

We must not just ask what a contemporary slave rebellion would look like—we must be on its side.

* A biological intelligence, a machine intelligence, and a god intelligence walk into a bar. Ethics and the self-driving car. Heaven. Can I interest you in a happy ending? From hell’s heart I stab at thee.

* And you may ask yourself.

We’ll probably never know what really makes people happy.

Every Circle In This Image Is The Same Color And It’s Breaking Our Brains.

* Mr. Rogers was my actual neighbor. He was everything he was on TV and more.

* Behold, the thagomizer.

Dungeons & Dragons is having its best year ever, Hasbro CEO says.

* Great thread about New York City’s grid layout, with a great punchline.

Did… did a cat write this?

* The new astrology.

* And the guy who slated classic Star Trek takes was unfazed by the whole thing. It’s a living…

Written by gerrycanavan

August 1, 2018 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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c5zayqzuwailjt1* Angela Davis at Marquette, March 29.

CFP: From Sanctuary to Sabotage: Fighting the Fascist Creep at and beyond Universities.

“Virtually nothing about our standard model of sleep existed as we know it two centuries ago.”

* Modern love.

20 Years Ago, Starship Troopers Showed Us What Happens When Fascism Wins.

11 things I learned about academia by analysing 14 million RateMyProfessor reviews.

tumblr_om94ksmnrs1romv9co1_250* Remember that Iowa lawmaker who wanted to purge universities of Democrats? Guess what!

* When the CIA read Foucault.

* Nice, low-key interview with Kim Stanley Robinson on Flash Forward TV.

Abigail Nussbaum walks you through her Hugo short fiction nominations.
* Trump and the Myth of Nuclear Flexibility.

* Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War.

* My alma mater in the news!

* America divided into states with the population of California. Which is to say, if we allow ourselves a crudely democratic understanding of what representative democracy should be, there would only be 16 senators in a Senate that fairly represented people living in California.

america

America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality.

* Exiting the Roach Motel, or, What’s the Matter with the Democratic Party?

The Democratic Party is a roach motel for leftists. We go in full of vision and energy, like the Sanders kids, like the Ellison supporters, and we get crushed and stuck in the slime. Sanders and Ellison had to play by the rules and call for continuing support for the Dems after their losses. Having played the game, they were stuck with the rules in the roach motel. Once you go in, you may never come out.

* Slavery and the academy.

* Twilight of the meritocrats.

* Palantir and ICE. Freeze on H-1B Visas. Customs Giving Literacy Tests At JFK Is A Thing Now. Deportation fears impacting criminal case. Don’t Get Your Undocumented Friends in Trouble: A How-To. Are you listening, SXSW?

* White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Wednesday that objections to President Donald Trump’s creation of a new office to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants are “un-American.” All right, then, I’ll go to Hell….

* “Accompanied by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen who is six months pregnant with their first child.” Trump administration considering separating women, children at U.S.-Mexico border. Detained after a press conference, Daniela Vargas was seven when she came to the U.S. A 13-Year-Old Girl Sobbed While Recording Her Immigrant Father Get Arrested By ICE Agents. ICE Plans To Deport Oregon Immigrant With 5 Children, No Criminal Background. Immigration agents deport Houston father of two who previously held immigration reprieve. After Decades In The U.S., NY Immigrant With Years-Old Pot Misdemeanor Faces Deportation. Does even a single person with a conscience work for this administration?

* Kushner and Flynn. Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention. Your cheat sheet to four potential investigations of Russia and President Trump. Mysteries of Jeff Sessions. Recusal is not enough. Isn’t it pretty to think so? The Innocent Explanation. Why Trump Sounding ‘Presidential’ Only Makes Him More Dangerous. Style and Substance. Trumpism and heroism. You Cretins Are Going To Get Thousands Of People Killed. This one broke while I was tagging the post.

* Hard to blame them: European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans.

* Four mosques have burned in seven weeks. Nearly half of the country’s Jewish community centers have received bomb threats in 2017. Today’s arrest (an apparent copycat) covered less than 10% of that.

* Destroying the planet is too important to let a silly little thing like national borders get in the way. The end of the Great Lakes. Gutting the Chesapeake Bay. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F.

* The rich are different: they control everything.

* Adam Roberts rereads The Time Machine.

* The Feminist Bookstore Movement.

* Fascinated by this: Price of Lab-Grown Burger Falls from $325K to $11.36.

* A rough stat from up the street: Only 1 in 5 black students enrolled at UW-Milwaukee graduates in 6 years.

* Team Plagiarizes Golden State Warriors. Team Is Undefeated.

* Could different borders save Europe?

“We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,” he wrote. “Ms. Conway has acknowledged her understanding of the standards and has reiterated her commitment to abiding by them in the future.”

* A diabetic boy’s parents ‘didn’t believe in doctors.’ Now they’re guilty of his murder.

* Are the Yuuzhan Vong coming back?

After oil was discovered on their Oklahoma reservation, the Osage Nation became the richest people per capita in the world. Then they began to be murdered off mysteriously. In 1924 the nascent FBI sent a team of undercover agents, including a Native American, to the Osage reservation.

* 69 Cock Lane is yours for £449,950, but is it Britain’s naughtiest address?

* Study: half of the studies you read about in the news are wrong (And yes, this could be one of them).

* This is the future liberals want. Though of course the meme is good too.

* But not this one: “basically a Fitbit for your man bits that tracks thrust speed and velocity.”

* Disney is super proud of itself for this incredibly progressive leap forward. Next: Scar, Ursula, and Captain Hook were all gay, too!

* There’s nothing sweet in life: Protesting Dr. Seuss Week.

* Nobody hates college more than the people who run colleges.

A transgender boy just won the Texas girls’ state wrestling championship.

* No More Saturday Marches. While the Iron Is Hot: The Case for the Women’s Strike.

* The line must be drawn — here!

* Ethical zoo.

* A People’s History of Daria.

These colleges are better than Harvard at making poor kids rich.

* George W. Bush, with the soul of an artist.

* Massive Open Online Rubber Arrow through the Head.

* You know what? Fine.

* Statement of teaching philosophy.

* This week’s I Was There Too interviews someone I’ve always wondered about, the actor who replaced Crispin Glover in Back to the Future Part Two. The Biff episode was good too though if you follow Back to the Future arcana you’ve probably heard a lot of it before.

* Trump’s worst crime is forcing me to agree with David Frum.

* Neoliberalism in everything: “Ark Encounter doesn’t live up to economic promise.”

* NASA’s about to learn a valuable lesson about the Internet.

* And the positive reviews have done it: I’m going to ruin my career and buy a Nintendo Switch so I can play the new Zelda.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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President Constitutional Law Professor

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The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. But don’t worry!

An expert in this aspect of the law said Wednesday night that the order appears to be a routine renewal of a similar order first issued by the same court in 2006. The expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that the order is reissued routinely every 90 days and that it is not related to any particular investigation by the FBI or any other agency.

More at MetaFilter.

Wednesday MOOCs, Strikes, Scandals, Snubs, and Flubs

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* The fast food workers’ strike hits Milwaukee.

MOOCs and For Profit Universities: A Closer Look. Aaron’s put the extended text of his talk up at TNI: The MOOC Moment and the End of Reform.

The first thing I want to do, then, is slow us down a bit, and go through the last year with a bit more care than we’re usually able to do, to do a “close reading” of the year of the MOOC, as it were. Not only because I have the time, but because, to be blunt, MOOC’s only make sense if you don’t think about it too much, if you’re in too much of a hurry to go deeply into the subject.

U-Va. MOOC finds high attrition, high satisfaction. Georgia Tech goes full-on MOOC Masters Degree.

* Obama student loan policy overcharging student borrowers by at least 51 billion dollars.

IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row. Gasp! You mean this whole scandal isn’t?

* Adam Kotsko on the US as a party state.

The really disturbing thing is that the party duopoly renders both parties above the law. We can see this in the IRS scandal that is currently unfolding: although there are very good reasons to suspect Tea Party organizations of being less than completely upright when it comes to taxes, the formal state apparatus is likely to back down and sanction the agents who carried out those investigations, because the appearance of neutrality vis-à-vis the two parties is more important than the rule of law. Similarly, one cannot prosecute Bush-era war crimes, because that would be an illegitimately “partisan” move. Given that Clinton and Obama have both committed similar atrocities, one might have some sympathy with the inevitable Republican whining that would accompany a Bush prosecution — it genuinely wouldn’t be “fair.” But it’s when one asks why we don’t just prosecute Bush and Obama that we realize that the two parties are truly above the law — a bipartisan agreement on foreign policy trumps even the most sacred norms of international law.

Six Reasons Why Race-and-IQ Scholarship is an Intellectual and Moral Dead End, with bonus followup.

In the US, it’s common to think of sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition, as a “black disease,” and in fact statistics on prevalence bear that out — black Americans are far more likely than whites to carry the sickle cell gene. But that fact, it turns out, is a result of ethnicity and history, not race.

Sickle cell is common in some parts of Africa, and some parts of Europe, but not others. As it turns out, most American blacks have ancestral origins in areas of sickle-cell prevalence, and most American whites do not. But if the geographic distribution of Americans’ ancestors were different — if, for instance, the country had been settled by South African blacks and Sicilian whites — the incidence of sickle cell in the white population would be higher than the incidence in the black population.

Race is a form of shorthand, in other words. It’s an approximation. In some situations, for some purposes, it’s a useful approximation. If you’re trying to tell someone which of your several friends named Jim you’re referring to, specifying that you mean “the white Jim” may be helpful, and if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck in a sickle-cell awareness media campaign, targeting black media may have merit.

But the fact remains that Nelson Mandela is at less risk of sickle cell than Al Pacino.

See also Race and IQ: That Old Canard.

* Even the Onion wouldn’t stoop this low for a bit: Soldier In Charge of Sex Assault Prevention Accused of Abuse, Pimping.

* Homeland Security goes after Bitcoin.

Media Matters humiliates itself.

* And xkcd reports on which running jokes the aliens are just finding out about.

interstellar_memes

Tuesday Night

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* zunguzungu: We Cannot Afford to Protect the Anuses of the Condemned.

Yesterday, as the Washington Post put it, the Supreme Court “upholds jail strip searches, including for minor offenses”; as the New York Times wrote “Supreme Court Ruling Allows Strip-Searches for Any Arrest”; and as the AP headlines it: “People arrested on minor charges can be strip searched, Supreme Court rules.” And I’m interested in these headlines because the words “offenses,” “arrests,” and “charges” are all ways of demarcating the moment the state judges a person to be in custody without saying anything in particular about the reason why. The fact of being in custody becomes the only important fact, to which all others are subordinate. This is the logic of the decision, but its also the logic that the headlines obey, flattening all possible juridical categories into a single one: the condemned.

More on this from Glenn Greenwald, who notes (no surprise) Obama’s DOJ is completely on board.

* Elsewhere in the rule of law: Fifth Circuit Judges Now In Full Wingnut Mode.

* What is your state good at?

* What is the going rate for a cellphone wiretap?

* …we would need a $9.92-per-hour wage, more than $2 above the current federal minimum, to match the buying power of the minimum wage in 1968.

* Where are you on the global pay scale? How long would it take Mitt Romney to earn what you make in a year?

* UNC study: We found that employed husbands in traditional marriages, compared to those in modern marriages, tend to (a) view the presence of women in the workplace unfavorably, (b) perceive that organizations with higher numbers of female employees are operating less smoothly, (c) find organizations with female leaders as relatively unattractive, and (d) deny, more frequently, qualified female employees opportunities for promotion. The consistent pattern of results found across multiple studies employing multiple methods and samples demonstrates the robustness of the findings.

George Lucas vs. the city.

* Romney Zippergate: Too juvenile, or not juvenile enough?

* 20 Services Google Thinks Are More Important Than Google Scholar.

* Alfred Hitchcock Movies as Nintendo Games. Doctor Who, now for the SNES. More Who: Will the next Doctor be a woman? Honestly, this seems like the obvious move.

* Imaginary monsters of U.S. cities.

And science proves 33 is the happiest age. Bring on 2013!

Friday Night Links

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* This American Life retracts their Apple documentary. More here.

* Greetings from Milwaukee: Selections from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection.

* Rortybomb with three ways of looking at the student debt crisis.

* China Miéville previews his new comic series Dial H for Hero.

* Inhofe on climate change: “‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost.” Sure, that’s how facts work.

* Wisconsin GOP loses state Senate majority after surprise resignation.

* The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos. Via MeFi.

* Rick Perlstein argues the problem isn’t that conservatives are crazier than they were fifty years ago; the problem is they’re exactly as crazy as they were fifty years ago. Via LGM.

After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date. 

So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data — equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

* I miss Linsanity. Those were simpler times.

* Americans used public transformation twice as much in 1940. That’s per capita. That’s nuts.

* Louis C.K. Withdraws as Host of Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Who invited him in the first place? What a terrible choice for the gig.

* Obama comes out against Amendment One. Hey, me too!

* Al Gore endorses filibuster reform. Hey, me too!

* And today in Settlers of Catan news: A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank. Hours of fun for the entire family!

Still OoT But With Unexpected Hotel Wifi Links

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* Ripped from the pages of Infinite Jest, a playable version of Eschaton. (via)

* Via Pete Lit, federal government to use its immense buying power to benefit society.

By altering how it awards $500 billion in contracts each year, the government would disqualify more companies with labor, environmental or other violations and give an edge to companies that offer better levels of pay, health coverage, pensions and other benefits, the officials said.

This looks to me like perhaps a first case of the end-runs Obama will have to make around our broken legislative institutions if he hopes to avoid a failed presidency. Another good sign: the final embrace of sidecar reconciliation to finish the job on health care.

* Of course, that headline in the New York Times gets it wrong, as Steve Benen has been desperately trying to explain to anyone who will listen: Democrats don’t need to pass health care via reconciliation because health care already passed through the regular order. Regardless, the Republicans are promising a full-on freakout if reconciliation is used; what might they do?

* “Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages’ worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood.” Hey, thanks for admitting it! Of course we won’t prosecute you; you were just protecting the homeland!

* Eliza Dushku to ruin another Joss Whedon production.

* The pornography of infinity: China Miéville on J.G. Ballard.

* J.D. Salinger v. Raiders of the Lost Ark.

* Wikipedia’s list of landings on other planets. Did the Soviets think there was life on Venus? They certainly seem to have thought there was something there. Via Boing Boing.

* Secret origins of the cellar door line from Donnie Darko.

* FantasySCOTUS.

* Really good reading of the U.K. version of The Office that focuses on Gervais’s critique of celebrity culture to explain, among other things, how David Brent could possibly have won a promotion on a 5-2 vote of the company board or been hired by a consulting firm—as well as why the U.S. version, in dropping this thematic angle, will always be intrinsically inferior.

* If I were a Brigham Young student, here’s the process I would have to undertake to grow my beloved beard.

* Students at the University of Mississippi want Admiral Akbar as their new mascot. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort.

* Also Via MeFi: Personal pop-culture rules. “No Robin Williams” and “anything involving dinosaurs” are two I think I follow.

* And Matt Yglesias selfishly takes a stand against one of our most-beloved cultural institutions. No special rights for late-in-the-alphabet people!

Transition Politics!

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Sorry about the slow blogging yesterday—the end of the semester can catch up on you. A few transition links:

* Change! Obama likely to keep Gates at Secretary of Defense, at least for a while, and unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies.

* Change! What we need is a liberal shock doctrine, says Rick Perlstein.

* Good has a visual accounting of the first 100 days of various presidents.

* How to get tickets to the inauguration.

* 59% of Americans look forward to one-party rule.

* And marriage equality destroys marriage in Connecticut today.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 12, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Politics Links

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Politics links.

* The NSA has been shamelessly spying on people they knew had nothing to do with terrorism. More at Washington Monthly. Why is nobody in jail over this?

* Matt has a flashback back to 2004 to argue that thinking we would win back them is nothing like thinking we’re going to win now.

* Will a reverse Bradley effect benefit Obama? Maybe, but it’s certain that corrupt voter-roll tampering will once again help the Republicans. Why is nobody in jail over this?

* You can only steal a close election. West Virginia is a tossup?

* The GOP is grumbling in Nevada and Virginia.

* Can the Dems hit 60 in the Senate? Ezra Klein look at the possibilities, while Matt Yglesias says 59 isn’t really all that different from 61. (Maybe, but I’d still like 61.)

* What are the candidates transition teams like? Did you just say one of them doesn’t have one?

* Obama gives his most direct statement on Ayers yet.

Obama “had assumed” from Bill Ayers’ stature in Chicago, he told the Philadelphia-based Michael Smerconish, that Ayers had been “rehabilitated” since his 1960s crimes.

In the interview, which was taped this afternoon and will air tomorrow, and which you can listen to above, Obama recalled moving back to Chicago after law school, and becoming involved in civic life there.

“The gentleman in question, Bill Ayers, is a college professor, teaches education at the University of Illinois,” he said. “That’s how i met him — working on a school reform project that was funded by an ambassador and very close friend of Ronald Reagan’s” along with “a bunch of conservative businessmen and civic leaders.”

“Ultimately, I ended up learning about the fact that he had engaged in this reprehensible act 40 years ago, but I was eight years old at the time and I assumed that he had been rehabilitated,” Obama said.

* And George Packer, touring rural Ohio in the lead-up to the election, writes up his experiences there in the New Yorker.

Dave Herbert was a stocky, talkative building contractor in an Ohio State athletic jersey. At thirty-eight, he considerably lowered the average age in Bonnie’s. “I’m self-employed,” he said. “I can’t afford to be a Democrat.” Herbert was a devoted viewer of Fox News and talked in fluent sound bites about McCain’s post-Convention “bounce” and Sarah Palin’s “executive experience.” At one point, he had doubted that Obama stood a chance in Glouster. “From Bob and Pete’s generation there are a lot of racists—not out-and-out, but I thought there was so much racism here that Obama’d never win.” Then he heard a man who freely used the “ ‘n’ word” declare his support for Obama: “That blew my theory out of the water.”

A maintenance man at the nearby high school, who declined to give his name, said that he had been undecided until McCain selected Palin to be his running mate, which swung his support to Obama.

“So you’re a sexist more than a racist,” Herbert joked.

“I just think the guy Obama picked would do better if he got assassinated than McCain’s if he died of frickin’ old age in office,” the maintenance man said.

Four women of retirement age were sitting at the next table. All of them spoke warmly of Palin. “She’d fit right in with us,” Greta Jennice said. “We should invite her over.” None had a good word to say about Obama. “I think he’s a radical,” a white-haired woman who wouldn’t give her name said. “The church he went to, the people he associated with. You don’t see the media digging into that.”

“I don’t know anyone who’s for Obama,” said Jennice, a Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton and who won’t vote in November.

“If they are, they don’t say it, because it would be unpopular,” an elderly former teacher named Marcella said. That had not been true of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or John Kerry, she added.

“I think the party-line Democrats are having a hard time with Obama,” Bobbie Dunham, a retired fourth-grade teacher, told me. When I asked if Obama’s health-care plan wouldn’t be a good thing for people in Glouster, she said, “I’ll believe it when I see it. If it’s actually happening, I’d say that’s good.” But she and the others had far more complaints about locals freeloading off public assistance than about the health-insurance industry and corporations. Dunham declared her intention to write in a vote for either Snoopy or T. Boone Pickens. “I’m not going to vote for a Republican—they’ve had their chance for the last eight years and they’ve screwed it up,” she said. “But I really just don’t trust Obama. He only says half-truths. He calls himself a Christian, but he only became one to run for office. He calls himself a black, but he’s two-thirds Arab.”

I asked where she had learned that.

“On the Internet.”

Written by gerrycanavan

October 10, 2008 at 12:40 am

Understanding Bush

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Slate has a helpful Venn diagram tracing the network of major Bush administration illegality, and surprisingly it’s Alberto Gonzales and not Dick Cheney who emerges as the Worst of a Very Bad Bunch.

Meanwhile, via MeFi, Salon asks whether or not Congress might pursue a Church-Committee-style truth commission in the wake of the criminality of the last eight years.

That question was answered in the seven-page memo. “The rise of the ‘surveillance state’ driven by new technologies and the demands of counter-terrorism did not begin with this Administration,” the author wrote. Even though he acknowledged in interviews with Salon that the scope of abuse under George W. Bush would likely be an order of magnitude greater than under preceding presidents, he recommended in the memo that any new investigation follow the precedent of the Church Committee and investigate the origins of Bush’s programs, going as far back as the Reagan administration.

The proposal has emerged in a political climate reminiscent of the Watergate era. The Church Committee was formed in 1975 in the wake of media reports about illegal spying against American antiwar activists and civil rights leaders, CIA assassination squads, and other dubious activities under Nixon and his predecessors. Chaired by Sen. Frank Church of Idaho, the committee interviewed more than 800 officials and held 21 public hearings. As a result of its work, Congress in 1978 passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which required warrants and court supervision for domestic wiretaps, and created intelligence oversight committees in the House and Senate.

…Some see a brighter prospect in Barack Obama, should he be elected. The plus with Obama, says the former Church Committee staffer, is that as a proponent of open government, he could order the executive branch to be more cooperative with Congress, rolling back the obsessive secrecy and stonewalling of the Bush White House. That could open the door to greater congressional scrutiny and oversight of the intelligence community, since the legislative branch lacked any real teeth under Bush. (Obama’s spokesman on national security, Ben Rhodes, did not reply to telephone calls and e-mails seeking comment.)

But even that may be a lofty hope. “It may be the last thing a new president would want to do,” said a participant in the ongoing discussions. Unfortunately, he said, “some people see the Church Committee ideas as a substitute for prosecutions that should already have happened.”

FISA Crisis 2008

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The New York Times has dueling op-eds on the FISA issue: the editorial board is unhappy with Obama, while Morton Halprin (who was spied on by Nixon) believes the FISA compromise is the best legislation we can hope for at this time.

I’ve already written about this (in both blogspot and Daily Kos flavors), but I have one or two things to add. First, on the merits of the FISA compromise, I think the bill itself is pretty awful, but telecom immunity isn’t the awful part. I can’t imagine the government making any other policy choice if it ever wants a private company to comply with its requests ever again. The problem here was and always has been Bush administration illegality, not telecom compliance—so the netroots are directing their fire in entirely the wrong direction. This TPM reader gets it right:

Before we all torpedo the best candidate we have had in 30+ years over this FISA thing, be aware of the two facts: (1) there is a long-established government contractor immunity doctrine in American law & what the telecoms did after 9-11 in obeying government demands for compliance is right in stride with that doctrine, and (2) in any event, the federal government is likely required to indemnify the telcos for any judgment or settlement they’d have to pay. Is this really the make-or-break litmus-test the netroots is clamoring for? No way. Is this just another example of liberals eating their own? You betcha.

As I was writing at the tail end of an Yglesias comment thread last night, the grandstanding you’re seeing on the lefty blogs over telecom immunity seems to me to be misdirected anger over the dawning recognition that Bush and his cronies really are going to get away with everything scot free. Well, they are. Pelosi took impeachment off the table—wrongly, I think, though I understand the political calculus involved—and it’s extremely unlikely there will be any substantive investigation of Bush following Obama’s election. There never has been. We’ll “turn the page.” “For the good of the country,” a criminal Republican administration will once again walk, and the really sad fact is the exact same bunch of thugs will probably pop back up yet another decade down the line to do it all again.

We lost the fight to hold Bush accountable when Pelosi took impeachment off the table. I’m sorry that’s true, but that’s reality, no matter what happens with FISA and telecom immunity or what anybody says on the Internet.

What’s actually at stake now is the character of the *next* eight years, eight absolutely crucial years in a very precarious moment not only for this nation but for the entire world—and with regard to that struggle Obama is doing the right thing by taking the FISA issue off the table. He’s being pragmatic. We need to be pragmatic too.