Exercise No. 3 (Linking)

Exercise No. 3 (Linking) May 22, 2012

If I were a better blogger, I’d have something insightful, profound or witty to say about all of these links.

“The surprising thing to me as I look back at my career is the determination I had, because I never thought of myself as a determined person. … I guess I just had to find out if I was any good or not.”

It’s very much thinking about it all the time,” celebrity chef Mario Batali says of taking the food stamp challenge.

“In The Real World, you don’t unlock any rewards or receive any benefit for playing on higher difficulty settings. The game is just harder, and potentially a lot less fun.”

“So, to enlighten him, let’s list all the ways Eduardo Saverin has benefitted from America.”

“If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000.”

“In your country, for example, there seem to be Christian political voices saying that you shouldn’t have a national healthcare system. To us, in Britain, this is virtually unthinkable.” (via AZspot)

“While the U.S. doesn’t have an official VAT, it has an unofficial one that we all end up paying for indirectly: the 8% difference between what we pay for our bloated, fraud-ridden healthcare system and what our global competitors pay for their universal-care healthcare systems.”

“That’s a disadvantage of doing comedy: You’re by yourself all the time and you have no insurance. Which is actually all of America: We’re all by ourselves too much and have no insurance.”

“Republicans and their allies are dusting off an old $500 billion deception about Medicare, trying once more to scare seniors into voting their way.”

“The idea that an abortion shouldn’t be paid for by the government comes from the broader stigma of abortion – that it’s a luxurious service we seek after we (women) do something bad.”

“They’re not all dealing with their own private conflictedness about homosexuality, but they’re all nursing a private moral failure they need a scapegoat to dump it on.”

“When an innocent man is convicted of murder and wrongfully incarcerated, that means that the real murderer is allowed to go free and commit other crimes.”

“The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberts Court.”

“Separation of state and church is woven throughout the Constitution, part of the warp and woof.”

“The fact that The Lord’s Prayer has been the only prayer recited at the beginning of Council meetings for over six years is likely to be found to demonstrate that the Council gives Christianity an unconstitutionally preferred status.”

“Almost every policy battle has been transformed into a proxy in a Republican war to define ‘American’ as white, straight, male and wealthy — an us-versus-them war being waged ever more intensely in 2012 because changing demographics threaten to define the term on far different terms.”

9 Examples Why You May Want to Avoid Homeowners Associations Like the Plague

10 Questions Every Candidate Should Be Ready to Answer

Hemant Mehta supplies the appropriate headline for news of the 7-story cross being planned for Branson, Missouri.

Not cool.

Also not cool.

The 400-seat New Hampshire House of Representatives is still too large.

No, really, the 400-seat New Hampshire House of Representatives is still too large.

Don’t get sneetered into drinking the wapatuli, you bufflehead.

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  • Rhubarbarian82

    8. When Is The Last Time The (Local Sports Team) Won The Championship/Pennant/World Series/Stanley Cup? During a Democratic debate for Massachusetts Senate late last year, four candidates, including Elizabeth Warren, couldn’t list the years their beloved Boston Red Sox had won the World Series in this century.
    Candidates should also have similar answers ready for local college
    teams, and should be able to name their favorite players, as well.

    I cannot possibly disagree more with this. I get that a lot of people like pro sports, but there are also a lot of us who think they’re really, really stupid and that the amount of attention (and corporate welfare) they get is far out of whack with whatever negligible contributions they might be making to society.

    I don’t demand Sen. Feinstein keep up to date on my stupid pastimes; pro sports fans should do the same.

  • Fred, you need to read more critical views of this so-called “obesity epidemic.”

    I recommend starting here, for one small dose:
    http://fatbodypolitics.com/2012/05/17/fear-mongering-for-the-nation/ 
    That article links to others. And the rabbit hole goes all the way down.

    And the reason I know about it is because when I was 15 years old I was told I should think about losing weight. When I was thin. When I was extremely healthy and active. When I then learned that muscle weighs more than fat, and the women in my family are all quite muscular, and women are expected to always have far fewer muscles than men no matter our actual body types. It has nothing to do with this random, unsupported, un-footnoted claim in that article you linked about bodybuilders, so entirely typical of this moral panic. The BMI is complete and utter nonsense invented by an insurance agent a century ago and stretched since to include as many people as possible in this so-called “epidemic.” 

    Fat people face real discrimination and hatred every single day for something they cannot realistically change and that realistically would not help their health even if they could change it. I am in the “overweight” category (lucky me, that’s actually the healthiest, though since I am disabled and cannot exercise and poor so cannot eat as healthily as I would wish to, it means jack) but don’t “look” it, and I am shaped in a socially accepted way for women, so I don’t face discrimination, but people I love do. People I have loved have caused themselves to vomit — which is phenomenally unhealthy — because they were so terrified of being fat. People I have loved have deprived themselves of food, causing themselves to obsess over it and ruining years of their lives which could have been spent joyfully instead of hungry and self-hating. 

    This is what liberals as a group seem unable to think critically over or research or fully take in. As we pride ourselves on thinking people of all skin colors and sexualities are equal, too many of us also pride ourselves on saying people with one body type are morally better than people with other body types. It’s not about self-control or about actual health. It’s about classism and sexism and ableism and sexual shaming and superiority complexes and telling children they are bad and broken and it is ugly, ugly stuff. 

  • I always understood it to be “wahptui,” with no “l.”
    As it was explained to me, the name comes from the sounds you make when you drink it – the initial “Wah!” (Which is the guttural way in which people in the region say “wow.”  Sort of, anyway.  It’s just a general expression of surprise or dismay.  In the UP in particular, it’s often paired with “holy,” as in, “Holy wah!”) when the force of it hits you, and then the “Ptui!” as you try to spit the taste from your mouth.

  • Tonio

    The article from the Whatever blog is one of the best I’ve read about white male privilege.

    Wright: “Every other developed country from Norway to New Zealand has healthcare
    for all of its citizens. We don’t understand all of this opposition to
    it over here in the U.S.”

    Those other countries have racism, but since they didn’t have a long history of black slavery like the US, they’re probably not suffering from the delusion that skin color has anything to do with industriousness or indolence. Here, opponents generally and wrongly perceive universal health care as another welfare program.

  • VMink

    The Whatever article by Scalzi had generated quite a lot of vitriol, as SWMs crawl out of their holes and completely, totally miss the point of the article.  It’s been fascinating to watch.  

  • Tonio

     I also disagree, but for different reasons. The question is a phony type of anti-elitism, where politicians who don’t follow sports are presumed to be intellectual snobs. The male ones are also presumed to be effeminate. (I don’t know if the question works in the opposite way for female politicians.) Jingoism is also a factor in the equation, a somewhat vaguer assumption that a pol who cannot get behind the home team also cannot get behind the nation.

  • aunursa

    “The case, too, reflects the aggressive conservative judicial activism of the Roberst Court.” — Jeffrey Toobin

    Jeffrey Toobin on Citizens United
    “[T]he facts reported by Toobin don’t seem to support his conclusions about the Chief Justice.”
     
    Jeffrey Toobin Rewrites Supreme Court History – And His Own
    “Toobin practically demands this level of scrutiny, by front-loading his story with easily disprovable mischaracterizations of the case. Even a cursory review of the case’s briefs, and contemporary news coverage, disproves Toobin’s thesis that Citizens United was originally a mundane case, until Chief Justice Roberts twisted it to reach radical, partisan ends.”
     
    Jeffrey Toobin’s misleading picture of the case and the Court.”
    “Yet here it is Toobin who is wrong, not Stewart. The statutory provision at issue was limited to broadcast, cable and satellite communications, and the film at issue was to be shown as a cable on-demand program, but the government never sought to defend the law on the basis that it was limited to electronic media.”
     
    Jeffrey Toobin makes lots of other reckless and unsubstantiated assertions”
    “The trusting reader would have no idea that the Citizens United majority adopted the very holding that the ACLU urged; that the case’s holding applies equally to unions and corporations; … that even then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan recognized that the 1990 precedent of Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce that the majority overruled was an outlier; and that not even Linda Greenhouse defends the actual position taken by Justice Stevens and the other dissenters.”

  • aunursa

    Well, to be fair, Sen. Feinstein did participate in the Giants World Series Parade.

    /silly-aunursa-you’re-missing-the-point

  • delurker

     Hey, aunursa, good to see you.  We”ll talk to you later.

  • aunursa

    7. Who Is Your Favorite Supreme Court Justice of All Time, and Why? Candidates should also be able to name a decision they agreed with and one they disagreed with. In recent years, these types of questions have tripped up both Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin.

    If as a presidential or vice presidential candidate, I were asked to name a Supreme Court decision that I agreed with or disagreed with, I would respond by asking how the question is relevant to the office I am seeking.

    I can certainly see why the question might be relevant to a judicial nominee.  And since the president makes judicial appointments, I can understand why one’s “favorite justice” would be an appropriate question to a presidential or vice presidential candidate.  But I don’t understand why analyses of previous court decisions are relevant to the executive position, since issuing and analyzing court decisions are not related to duties performed by a president or vice president as part of the office.

  • Tonio

    The problem with the Citizens United ruling isn’t about which political party or faction benefits from the outcome. It’s that it essentially allows wealthy entities to buy candidates who are beholden to them.

    I view the issue the same way I view health care reform. Just as the problem with the health care system is arguably the existence of for-profit insurers, the problem with the campaign system is the existence of extremely wealthy donors, whether they’re individuals or corporations or unions. I favor switching to a public financing system, where individual donations are capped at something like $25 or $50. Candidates would have to put up deposits to be eligible for public financing, and they would forfeit their deposits if they don’t draw a sufficient percentage of the votes.

    The point of health care reform should be make the level and quality of coverage independent of the individual’s level of income. Similarly, the point of campaign financing shouldn’t be merely to reduce corruption, but to do away with the advantage that money brings to campaigning. Money isn’t the same as speech. What should count is the quality of the candidate’s ideas, not how much he or she can afford to disseminate it.

  • Jenny Islander

    I can’t speak to the male part, but the white part of privilege produces scenes like this:

    I need aid.  I go to the aid office.  The aid worker is helpful, efficient, and nonjudgmental.

    My friend needs aid.  I recommend the aid office.  “The aid worker”–it’s a small office, so she’ll get the one aid worker–“is so helpful, efficient, and nonjudgmental,” I tell her.  She calls for an appointment and is treated the way I was treated.  She is a Californian with a bachelor’s degree and a West Coast TV newsreader accent, so her diction is higher in status than my incomplete college education and sloppy Alaskan drawl.  (I have a good vocabulary, but I trained myself to talk like, y’know, the kids in the back of the class in an attempt not to stand out, but that’s another story.)

    As soon as she walks in the door, the same person she talked to on the phone, the person who was so courteous to me and to her sight unseen, shouts across the room, “POOR FAVOOR, RAY-GRAY-SAY CON OON UN-TURR-PRAY-TAY” and immediately goes back to whatever she was working on.  It takes a while for my friend to convey that actually English is her first language–seriously, the same person she talked to on the phone can’t seem to hear her now–and that she is in fact the person with the Western European name who made this appointment.

    So the aid worker hurries through the aid info that my friend actually came for and goes straight on to how she can get her GED (her BA is on the paperwork), the benefits of marrying the father of her children (they married several years before no. 1 came along), how to use contraception (they were all planned), and other absurd and humiliating things I don’t recall offhand.  She does get the aid, but she gets a ration of crap along with it.

    Question: Which one of us is white?  Which one of us is brown?

  • aunursa

    Fair enough. 

    But the question of whether the Citizens United decision has produced adverse consequences is separate from Toobin’s point, which is that (among other things) Chief Justice Roberts deliberately expanded what would have been a narrow ruling in order to benefit conservative causes, when in fact Toobin’s own words refute his assertion.  Add to that the errors and distortions, and it’s a sloppy article in many respects.

  • David Starner

     Understanding the law is certainly part of the job of a presidential candidate. Analyzing court decisions is essential for understanding whether an act or similar ones have been considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and an extensive understanding of the Supreme Court is necessary to know whether the current Supreme Court would change the rules (or make changes in the perceived limits of previous rules.)

  • aunursa

    But understanding a law is different from understanding a Supreme Court decision, which is not simply a ruling but an explanation for the majority’s (and in most cases the minority’s) determination.  The roles of the president and vice president including following the law, not to determine whether a previous SCOTUS decision was correctly determined.

    For example, if someone says that his favorite ruling is Roe v Wade and his least favorite ruling is Citizens United, but his explanation is merely the fact that he really, really supports the consequences of Roe and really, really opposes the consequences of CU, then his decision is based on the outcome, not the legal argument.  On the other hand, if he is so well versed in the legal arguments that he can understand and explain the majority and minority opinions*, and why he feels that the one side is correct, then he’s getting into areas that have little bearing on the role of the president or vice president.

    Perhaps the question should be worded, “Which decision do you like?” rather than “Which decision do you agree with?”  I would still wonder about the relevance of the question, but it would be more in line with the executive role in SCOTUS decisions (i.e. the president is a cheerleader.)

    A more relevant issue would be the qualities that a president would look for when choosing a Supreme Court nominee.  An appropriate question might be, “Who is/was your favorite Supreme Court justice … and why?”

    * Aside from the incumbent president, a constitutional law professor, which presidents and VPs would be able to explain the nuances of a particular Court decision.

  • It kinda bugs me that the thing everyone locks in on and hates about Citizens United is “corporations are people”.  I don’t mind corporations being people. We could put them in jail when they show gross contempt for human life. We could make them pay their damned taxes. 

    What cheeses me off about Citizens United is the whole “and money is speech” thing.

  • Tonio

    What you describe is more like “corporations are citizens,” a more laudable concept because that would mean they have responsibilities as well as rights. Equating them with people is really a euphemism that wrongly equates government limits on their power with infringements on their rights. At best, it ignores the massive imbalance of power between corporations and actual people.

  •  

    and that she is in fact the person with the Western European name who made this appointment.

    This is terribly nitpicky, but… don’t most people presumed to speak Spanish have Western European names? Like Rodriguez, Del Toro, or Santiago?

  •  

    I also disagree, but for different reasons. The question is a phony type
    of anti-elitism, where politicians who don’t follow sports are presumed
    to be intellectual snobs. The male ones are also presumed to be
    effeminate. (I don’t know if the question works in the opposite way for
    female politicians.) Jingoism is also a factor in the equation, a
    somewhat vaguer assumption that a pol who cannot get behind the home
    team also cannot get behind the nation.

    Yeah, I definitely see it as that Bush II “guy I could have a beer with” crap. It’s part of what they define as “real A-murrican culture” and if you don’t fit that you probably got bullied in school and deserved it. Whose side are you on, anyway?

    (Why yes, I do have a very, very, very dim view of jock culture. Why do you ask?)

  • Jenny Islander

    No, no, those aren’t Western European names; they’re Messican. 

  • No, no, those aren’t Western European names; they’re Messican

    You are quite right, I was using information and logic there, and that’s egghead stuff that no real Ah-murrican would do.

    Waaay back in my high school American history class, while we were studying the Vietnam conflict. Our teacher asked the football quarterback to find Vietnam on the large, labeled world map. Guy started by moving his finger over the map, slowly. Our long-suffering teacher advised him “You’re looking at Europe there.” The QB responded “Which one of these countries is Europe?”

    That’s a real American right there, not a fake American like lib-ruls.