Home > Uncategorized > RadarWatch 12.04-12.10

RadarWatch 12.04-12.10

What I did in my previous blogging attempt was round up the best things I read during the week.  I will continue that again. These won’t be things only from this past week, but things I have read during the past week. Here are the things on my radar.

Ta-Nehishi has been killing it with the Civil War recently

Why do so few blacks study the Civil War?

For African Americans, war commenced not in 1861, but in 1661, when the Virginia Colony began passing America’s first black codes, the charter documents of a slave society that rendered blacks a permanent servile class and whites a mass aristocracy. They were also a declaration of war.

Civil War isn’t tragic:

I wanted to first begin with this basic question I’ve been hashing over in some of my writing at the Atlantic. Is the Civil War tragic?

On the one hand you can say any war is tragic. But it’s kind of metaphysical and that has nothing to do with a historic situation. When people today say “the Civil War was tragic” what we’re getting [now] is an odd combination of two things. One, there’s a  long standing conservative view that the war was unnecessary, that slavery would have died out anyway, and therefore the Civil War is tragic because people died for no reason.

Lately, on the more liberal end, there’s a different angle that comes to much the same conclusion but is a more general anti-war sentiment. Whenever people get fed up with war, it reverberates back. That is fed by a general  cynicism about politics and political leaders. “Well political leaders are all corrupt anyway.” Or “Yeah they talked about slavery but…”

When I lecture, I am amazed how many people come up to me and say, “It was really about the tariff.” There’s an unwillingness to look slavery in the face. But slavery is the bottom-line for beginning to talk about the Civil War.

The tragic notion also feeds on the idea of “the brothers war. White people killing each other, how tragic.” But blacks are not the brothers of these guys. I’m almost a pacifist nowadays, and if someone can show a plausible route to getting rid of slavery without the Civil War I will say “OK it’s tragic.” But there is no such route.

Right now, people find it easier to talk about the Civil Rights movement which is 50 years ago, than the Civil War. We’d rather have a  defanged Civil Rights movement, than talk about slavery 200 years ago.

The Education of a Quarterback:

Now, as the best player on the N.F.L.’s last undefeated team, as perhaps the best quarterback in a league defined by the position, Rodgers recalls those days with a certain anti-Allen Iverson fondness. Yes, he is talking about practice when he says, “Those first three years were critical to my success.”

I like Tebow, I just avoid all the religion stuff. You have to like a guy who just wins game.

How was Herman Cain ever considered a serious candidate besides the whole affair and sexual harassment?

Cain didn’t miss any opportunities, in all this, to put blame on the press. Before reciting some fairly generic lines of inspiration, he said, “I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie; the media pointed that out.” (He has attributed them, in the past, to a “poet,” though they have also been associated with Donna Summer.)

Scott Walker used to like recalls from John Nichols:

But Walker’s anti-recall talk strikes a particularly hypocritical note.

Back when he was a state legislator, Walker was an enthusiastic proponent of recall elections. In fact, he was one of only a handful of state legislators who aligned with — and ultimately took money from — a group that was seeking to recall U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl.

Walker got even more enthusiastic about recalls in 2002, when he became the favored candidate of the group seeking to remove Milwaukee County Executive Tom Ament. After Ament resigned, Walker was elected to replace him.

When he ran for governor in 2010, Walker talked up the 2002 recall drive as an exercise in democracy.

Speaking of the Milwaukee County fight, Walker said: “You know the folks that were angry about this started a recall and they were told they needed to collect 73,000 signatures in 60 days. Well, not hundreds, not thousands, but tens of thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and took their government back. In less than 30 days they collected more than 150,000 signatures. It was at that moment I realized the real emotion on display in my county wasn’t just about anger. You see, if it had been about anger, it would have been about people checking out and moving out or giving up. But instead what happened was really amazing. You saw people standing up shoulder to shoulder, neighbor to neighbor and saying we want our government back. And in doing so the real emotion on display was about hope.”

Scott Walker’s narrative is phony

In Wisconsin you can only rally if you have enough money

Amazing how Scott Walker is curbing freedom of speech:

On the balcony above the tree that Scott Walker bravely came out to light when practically nobody was watching, Jason Huberty has hung six giant signs, each with one letter, and spelling out “RECALL” over the bust of Fightin’ Bob. Huberty has been arrested half-a-dozen times, and he has each summons laminated and will show them to you, if you ask. He has secured his signs by tying them off to plastic bottles full of water in the floor behind the balcony railing. This, of course, makes them an “exhibit,” and not signs, so the cops tell Jason that he has to have someone hold each sign, which will make them, well, “signs.”

The employment numbers that Walker bragged about weren’t as big as he said

David Cronenburg Interview

Gingrich the must full of himself person ever?

He does it directly, as in a 1995 interview when he bragged, “I am the most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson.”

Gingrich won’t win the primary

I sure do hope Gingrich doesn’t win. But I would say he has an interesting mind. But again he won’t win.

Really how could he with his history. And I’m not talking about the affairs. It’s all the other stuff. So much stuff.

And the Republican decision makers won’t allow it.

Glenn Beck pussyfoots around Gingrich

You can almost see Bachmann’s soul jump out of her body.

Send in the Clueless by Krugman

Republicans screwing themselves over for the Hispanic vote with their positions

I wish Buddy Roemer got more press

Interesting essay about Faulkner

Want to buy an election?

Hubert Sumlin passes

More Sumlin

John Lennon split in two and Lennon’s last interview

We are at War! mentality by Greenwald:

he theory had these four fairly simple premises:

(1) Terrorism is not primarily a criminal offense. It is an act of war. Thus: We Are At War With The Terrorists.

(2) Those who try to harm the U.S. as part of this War are combatants and Terrorists — not criminals — and are thus entitled to no due process or any other rights to which accused criminals are entitled. It is the U.S. military (led by the Commander-in-Chief) — not courts — which decides who is and is not a combatant and Terrorist.

(3) Whether someone is a combatant or Terrorist is decided by only one thing: the President’s unilateral decree. Once the President decrees someone a combatant or Terrorist — including one of his own citizens — that person by definition becomes one, and he can then be treated as such without any further judicial process or Constitutional protection. Once that presidential accusatory decree issues, protections of the Constitution and law disappear. In sum, presidential accusations that someone is a Terrorist are the same as proof and a verdict of guilt.

(4) Unlike virtually every other war ever fought, the “battlefield” of this War is not found where opposing forces are shooting at each other, but is rather defined as: wherever an accused Terrorist is found anywhere in the world. Thus, the President’s battlefield powers — which are limitless: unilateral targeting for death, indefinite imprisonment without charges, spying on communications without any oversight  – are not confined to any geographical location, but instead can be applied everywhere. Wherever an accused combatant or Terrorist physically exists — sleeping in a bed, riding in a car with his children, thousands of miles away from any actual shooting — is the “battlefield.”

Greenwald invokes Orwell:

Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . .

Sad thing is that I one of the schools I sub at had students using Politifact everyday in the classroom.  More Greenwald awesomeness

But the real import of PolitiFact‘s analysis is that it relies entirely on two supposedly neutral legal “experts”: The Brooking Institution’s Benjamin Wittes and University of Texas Law School’s Robert Chesney, both of whom co-founded and write together on the “Lawfare” blog (along with former Bush DOJ lawyer Jack Goldsmith). That duo mocks as “nonsense” and “preposterous” Paul’s view that these new AUMF standards vest the President with dangerous levels of discretion. They ridicule Paul’s concerns even asChesney admits that “Paul fairly points out the lack of a definition of associated forces.” PolitiFact then blindly relies upon what these two experts told them to declare Paul’s concerns to be “largely false.”

The notion that these two individuals — or anyone like them — are entitled to be treated as neutral, ideology-free experts is what is “preposterous nonsense.” But this is a common means of deceit in our political discourse: depicting highly biased, ideologically rigid establishment advocates as some kind of neutral expert-arbiters of fact, even though they’re drenched in all sorts of biases and ideological objectives.

Review of the best book of the year. With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald.  I recommend reading it with Republic, Lost by Lessig.

Reaction to the Russian elections

More about Russia and more here. Arrests made. When will elites see that the people are getting sick of it.

Good God, awkward.  He panders to people who like music?

It’s like Mitt is a robot.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has decided upon a rather novel approach to winning the presidency. It has taken a smart and highly qualified but largely colorless candidate and made him exquisitely one-dimensional: All-Business Man, the world’s most boring superhero.

Ron Paul trying to be hip, somebody tell him that Denis Leary truck commercials aren’t the answer.

But Ron Paul isn’t that ridiculous 

Interesting review of the new book on Howard Cosell

Hitch.  Amazing.

Suite Judy Blues eyes review: Judy Collins seems like an interesting writer

Wealth does not trickle down

The recent thread about law school recently has been interesting,

James Kwak:

Although I am nominally a law professor, I haven’t taught a day of law school in my life (I’m on leave now), so my impressions on mainly based on being a law student and a summer intern. My first summer, when I was doing legal services, I learned a tremendous amount that I hadn’t learned in law school. I learned how to use those funny folders that have two metal prongs sticking up, and how to use the two-hole punch so you could put paper in those folders. I learned that if you want an exemption from a filing fee because you can’t afford it, your statement of financial condition has to be on pink paper. Perhaps most importantly, I learned which person you should avoid in the clerk’s office because he was certain to give you a hard time about your forms. These are all necessary skills of any good lawyer in that office—but that doesn’t mean they should be taught in law school.

I dislike Gruden, but he does love football.  I think that it’s necessary for you to hate Monday night announcers.  I didn’t like Madden, Miller, Gruden.

Most interesting man in football: New England’s Ernie Adams. And again. And again. I wish there I could find some more stuff on him. I’d just love to talk to him.  His interactions with Halberstam are so good.

I’d take the Columbia coaching job:

The average salary for the head coaches of Columbia’s 14 men’s teams last year was $93,984, according to a report from the United States Department of Education. The same report showed the university had spent $2,670,238 — far less than Meyer’s new annual salary — to cover the combined expenses of the entire football program.

I’ve been reading Doonesbury Comics fromt he beginning.  I’m only a few years in, but I’m pleased

When I get back to New York I think that I just want to go to the libraries.

I just finished Three Cup of Deceit by Kraukauer.  Interesting, but really not necessary to read, unless you donated to Mortenson and are pissed about it.

I just finished 1Q84.  It was a fun read. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a great book, but I liked it and it kept me engaged.

How to read Murakami

Christopher Taylor not impressed with 1Q84

Another 1Q84 review

I loved Hugo.  Great essay about Hugo.


Fracking is bad.  I’ve known for awhile.

No way they’ll get Obama or Clinton to testify. See?

More here.

How to rescue education reform. Darling-Hammond is my hero.

On dating and weight:

While other women would squeal with laughter when they were hoisted over a shoulder or tossed into a swimming pool, I lived in horror of someone picking me up and feeling the solid mass of my thighs. If a guy ever succeeded in coaxing me to perch on his knee, I’d balance uncomfortably, trying to hide the fact that I was pressing my feet so hard against the floor that I was practically hovering in midair.

On rereading

Vonnegut biography seems good.  Sad to hear about the contradictions that were talked about.

You can never destroy the Occupy Library

Occupy Wall Street occupies Obama’s speech, but will anything come of it. Maybe. I hope.

Occupy foreclosured houses.  I think this is my favorite thing that has come out of the Occupy movements.

Occupy and Economic Freedom

Amazing essay about Occupy Oakland. I wish I would have gotten a teaching job I applied there for. I would have loved to participated.

Reading about economists makes me wish I knew more.  Bio on the two recent Nobel Prize in economic winners: Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent. 

Simmons on the lockout; that may have never even happened.

Yay! A positive Obama story. Using their influence to promote gay rights. A lot better idea than trying to promote economic dependence.

Then a depressing Obama story.  Trying to promote internet freedom, like Wikileaks, right?

No Plan B over the counter. Because it is an election year.

5 books on civil resistance

No cameras in the Supreme Court. I would watch this.

John Yoo smackdown:

Yoo is entitled to change his mind. But it’s a little much for him to belittle as obviously false and “simplemindedly wrong” criticisms quite similar to the ones he himself used before being put in a position where his bosses benefited from a more expansive view of executive power. It is, furthermore, grating for Yoo to call those whose views depart from his “simpleminded” given that even the Department of Justice superior who saved him from being found to have violated professional ethics proclaimed, “I fear that John Yoo’s loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client and led him to author opinions that reflected his own extreme, albeit sincerely held, view of executive power while speaking for an institutional client.”

Regulations and Obama myth

Libertarianism is antiwar.  I wish the tea party was. And Obama.

Did a war is Iran get mainstreamed?

I now wonder if my concerns were understated, and the danger a bit more subtle. It appears that we have gone beyond just talking about military action to actually engaging in it, albeit at a low level. In addition to waging cyberwar via Stuxnet, the United States and/or Israel appear to be engaged in covert efforts to blow up Iranian facilities and murder Iranian scientists. Earlier this week, the CIAlost a reconnaissance drone over Iranian territory (whether Iran shot it down or not is disputed). And just as I’d feared, this situation has led smart and normally sober people like Andrew Sullivan andRoger Cohen to endorse this shadowy campaign, on the grounds that it is preferable to all-out war.

Tammy Baldwin continuing the progressive tradition in Wisconsin?

What are our schools really?:

If someone really thinks about it, away from his superstitions, school is a

monstrous institution. The child goes into an artificial world for X hours,

immobilized on a desk, amongst four walls, forced to learn things which are,

for the most part, strange, useless, and indifferent. S/he is forced to be

passive against someone who stuffs him/her with knowledge. S/he suffers a

complete separation of his/her physical and mental development, a

fragmentation in which the curriculum inserts some ridiculous beautifying

aspects, like 1 hour of gymnastics or 1 hour of art, etc. The result is that

when s/he leaves school s/he is a disabled person, who shouldn‘t—if the

educational system had had its way—have either body or mind. If s/he has

still a body or mind it is because of his/her resistance to the system. (own

translation) from Critical pedagogy and democracy: cultivating the democratic ethos by Maria Nikolakaki in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies

What is Critical pedagogy?

Critical pedagogy is about acquiring both knowledge and the ability to

maximize individual and social autonomy, as a means of individual and social liberation.

from Critical pedagogy and democracy: cultivating the democratic ethos by Maria Nikolakaki in Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies

And I’ll end with Conor Friesdorf roundup of Newt stories.

Newt and Iraq invasion

Rush Limbaugh the only true conservative because he won’t criticize Gingrich. Really?

Great man complex

Gingrich deficit promotor.

Why Gingrich would fail

Gingrich doesn’t like civil liberties

Populist Technocrat

Video of the week, in honor of Huber Sumlin’s passing: From Living the blues

Interesting side note, when I was a freshmen in college I took a history of rock and roll course and the instructor had Sumlin come in and play.  It was a mind blowing experience.

Song of the week in honor of Harry Morgan, RIP.

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