Search Results for "democrat"

July
15th 2014
The war on expertise: there are limits to the democratization of knowledge

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

einsteinrelativityThis American Life featured a fascinating–as in, car-crashtastic–example of the war on expertise that I thought many of you academic readers might be interested in, if you haven’t heard it already.  In a story called “Sucker Mc-squared” (Mc-squared as in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, not Mc- as in McDonald’s), Robert Andrew Powell tells the story of Bob the Electrician, and of Bob’s conviction that he alone had discovered a fatal flaw in Einstein’s theory.  You can hear the entire story here–it’s well worth 20 minutes of your time.

To summarize:  Bob takes a year-long self-funded sabbatical to study physics and prove that Einstein had it all wrong.  Powell tries to get real physicists to read the paper that Bob produces over the course of the year, which turns out to be quite a chore because it turns out that Bob is kind of like the old joke about asylums being full of Napoleons:  there are thousands of cranks around the world who believe Einstein’s theory–and by extension all of modern physics–is wrong, and they are a plague upon real, working, university- and U.S. government-affiliated physicists in much the same way that Holocaust Deniers, Constitutional Originalists, and Lost Causers are to historians; climate change denialists are to real climate scientists; and anti-vaxxers are to real physicians.  In sum, these cranks have no confidence whatsoever in expertise or in the value of the credentials that real historians, scientists, or doctors have.  But yet, they crave their respect and demand to be acknowledged by the experts.

 Why does Bob believe that all of physics has it all wrong?  Why is he argumentative and defensive when finally Powell convinces a real physicist (Brant Watson of the University of Miami School of Medicine) to explain to him why he’s all wet?  Why does he admit that he doesn’t understand the advanced training in mathematics that physicists receive, and still believe he’s right?  SPOILER ALERT!
Continue Reading »

23 Comments »

September
26th 2010
Democrats to women: drop dead

Posted under American history & bad language & Gender & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

Your Democratic Party in action!

Here’s an article headlined “Can women save the democrats?” (via RealClearPolitics) suggesting that Democrats are attempting a last-ditch effort to pull their a$$es out of the fire in November:  targeting their base of women voters.  Except, it’s mostly a recitation of bad polling numbers for the Dems–there’s little if any indication that Democrats intend to do anything about it.

Can women save the Democrats?

The gender contours of American politics have been clear for many years. Democrats have long enjoyed a decided advantage among female voters, less so among men. Over the next five weeks, Democrats’ hopes of holding the House and Senate may depend on their success in once again rallying those female voters.

Right now, Democrats are doing far better among women than men, but in many places not by enough. In a number of states, men are supporting Republican candidates by significant margins, while women are backing Democratic candidates but not by as much as in some past years.

.       .       .       .      .       .      .       .      

Four years ago, on the eve of the 2006 midterms, men were evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats in their voting intentions for the House, while women were Democratic by 22 percentage points. Today, Newport said, 52 percent of men say they plan to vote Republican and 40 percent say they will vote for the Democrat. Women are the opposite: 52 percent Democrat and 40 percent Republican.

CNN released a series of statewide polls last week, showing much the same. In Colorado, Republican challenger Ken Buck led Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet 49 percent to 44 percent among likely voters. Among men, it was Buck 56 percent, Bennet 36 percent. Among women, it was Bennet 52 percent, Buck 41 percent.

So what are Democrats doing to try to energize their base?  What outreach efforts are they making?  Here’s the only evidence offered in this story that anyone associated with Democratic politics thinks this is a problem:  Continue Reading »

41 Comments »

July
28th 2009
The U.S. Constitution versus the Democratic Party: at least one is working as it should.

Posted under American history & jobs

usconstitution

WARNING:  RANT ABOUT “HEALTH CARE REFORM” AHEAD

Matt Yglesias has his knee breeches and silk stockings in a twist because ZOMG “vast power is being wielded by people who, in a democratic system of government, would have almost no power. We’re talking, after all, about Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Collectively those six states contain about 2.74 percent of the population, less than New Jersey, or about one fifth the population of California.”  (Via The Daily Beast.)  Funny, I don’t hear too many pundits all that upset when Senators from those same states (or others equally unpopulated) are rewriting or blocking legislation of which they disapprove.

So:  duh, Matt.  It’s been that way for 220 years, and in fact the decision to apportion senate seats by politically-defined land masses instead of by population has been used to block legislation throughout American history.  That’s what the Senate was designed to do!  It’s a feature, not a bug.  Read the U.S. Constituion, Article I, section 3, and it’s as plain as daylight dawning on Long’s Peak.  I’m not saying it’s right–this giveaway to small states was in part a result of the Continental Congress’s Constitutional Convention’s adoption of the nefarious 3/5 Compromise, in which large southern states totally scored by getting the U.S. to count enslaved people only for the purposes of determining representation in the U.S. House–they weren’t extended the rights and privileges of citizenship.  The agreement to give 2 Senators to each state–the Connecticut Compromise–was a bone the big slave states had to toss to the somewhat more urban small states like Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Delaware, which happened to be mostly in the North and mostly not states in which enslaved labor was a large part of the population.

It was perfectly clear by the end of the nineteenth century that the smaller, northeastern states had the short end of the stick of congressional representation, after westward U.S. imperial expansion had turned the Great American Desert (and beyond) into a bunch of large, squarish political land masses with very small populations and yet 2 Senators apiece.  Thus the domination of the rural southern and western minority over the urban majority continued into the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.  You want a Corrupt Bargain?  I got yer Corrupt Bargain, right here, pally.  The North and East haven’t caught a break since John Quincy Adams’s “selection” in 1824.  (For the record:  I supported Andrew Jackson in both 1824 and 1828, but as you probably already know, I wasn’t permitted to vote because of my sex.)

Now, to the matter at hand, our pathetic “health care reform” debate, which seems to be more about figuring out how to subsidize for-profit health insurance companies:  is it really hopelessly screwed up because of the Connecticut Compromise?  Continue Reading »

18 Comments »

February
3rd 2009
Democratic Dumba$$es: cheap, stupid, or both?

Posted under American history & class & jobs & wankers

nast-donkeyWhat’s with all of the high-profile Obama appointees and erstwhile appointees who have problems either 1) paying income taxes, or 2) hiring documented employees, and/or 3) paying unemployment taxes on said employees, or any combination thereof. 

Now, I’m pretty darned sure that Tom Daschle, Nancy Killefer, and Tim Geithner are all members of the Ruling Class in good stead.  (Let’s just say that it’s guaran-damn-teed that they make more money than your average Associate Professor of the humanities–I think we can all agree on that.)  By most people’s standards, they’re rich, connected, and FOBO (friends of Barack Obama), so why don’t they hire 1) legally employable people, and 2) accountants to do their taxes?  Because it just looks really, really crummy that these Democrats either don’t want to pay U.S. citizens to work for them, what with their American sense of entitlement to health insurance, sick days, and unemployment insurance.  Or, it looks like they’re so cheap that they’re depriving honest, hardworking, and smarter-than-you CPAs and tax attorneys from practicing their love on people’s tax returns.

Come on:  isn’t the Democratic Party the party of putting people back to work?  If so, why not start with nannies and accountants, who with their professional skills do so much to make our households and families function smoothly?  Because for a while this week, it looked like the party of dirtbag employers and tax-amnesty-for-me-but-not-for-thee.

Dumba$$es.

22 Comments »

October
31st 2008
Ed Rendell: Democrat and Phillies Fan

Posted under American history

Historiann commenter and special correspondent Indyanna filed this report late Wednesday night after attending both an Obama rally and watching the Phillies put the Rays to bed.  (It’s a shame about Rays!  Sorry–I couldn’t resist.  I’ve been waiting for the Phillies to win all week long so that I could roll out my bad joke!)  So, without further ado, I give you Indyanna:

I went to the Ed Rendell event tonight which ended just in time to catch the last two outs in the Phillies victory.  Turnout was modest, but it wasn’t really so much a general rally as a meet-up of the local Obama activists to fire everyone up for the final week. The gov. is touring the western end of the state to guard against any complacency and because this one apparently could be the deal-breaker if anything goes wrong.  It probably won’t, esp. as the Philadelphia area’s baseball euphoria should have positive political transfer effects, much the way the Mets victory in 1969 kept Mayor Lindsey in office in NYC.

The gov. poured rivers of scorn on the Republican campaign and called for them to be not just beaten but “punished,” as he says they’ve run a mean and unworthy campaign.  He dismantled the notion piece by piece that Obama would “raise your taxes” or that he is a “wealth spreader.”  In fact, he quoted both McCain and Palin as advocating various types of wealth transfer, and not just from the poor to the rich.  Then he dropped the mike and literally rushed up the aisle without waiting for questions, muttering that he had to catch the end of the Phillies game!  Ed. note:  like a true former Mayor of Philadelphia!

The big news is that Rep. Murtha is apparently in a tighter race than expected, given that the hunter and gatherer crowd hasn’t been wild about his leftish zigs and zags. But the money he’s showered on this district over the years is maybe the difference between actually HAVING to hunt and gather and just doing it as a cultural statement.

12 Comments »

April
4th 2008
A call to all Democrats: no circular firing squads, please!

Posted under American history & Gender & GLBTQ & women's history

Via Roxie’s World, check out this video for the Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice”.  Please, Senator Clinton, dump Celine Dion, for the love of all that is good and right in the world!  Roxie also points to this interview Clinton did with the Philadelphia Gay News.  The article is called “Clinton talks, Obama balks,” and PGN explains:  “PGN invited both Clinton and Obama, as well as presumptive Republican candidate John McCain, to speak with us. Only Clinton granted an interview.”  Hmmm.  Well, maybe Senator Obama read Historiann’s pioneering exploration of the queer vote in 2008?

eustace-tillarybama.JPGI caucused for Hillary Clinton because I think she’s got the better policies, especially on reforming health care.  I don’t think she’s perfect, nor do I think she’s run a perfect campaign (lamentably).  If you’re looking for perfection, then go to a house of worship–politics ain’t your game.  (Like I said when I voted to re-elect Ted Kennedy in 1994:  I’m voting for Senator, not for Pope.)  As the campaign has gone on, I’ve become more and more impressed with Clinton’s grace under pressure, and her amazing ability to transcend the ugly attacks and character assassination that she endures now not just from right-wing Republicans and the press and broadcast media, but by people in her very own party who claim to be progressives.  (Oh well–women who step out of their place and into the public square have always been called “F**king Wh*r*es,” haven’t they?  Stay classy, Randi!)  And in spite of the fact that the media are cheering for her downfall, just about half of all Democrats still prefer her.  Gee, I wonder what “the math” would be if we had anything like a fair and self-reflective press and a Democratic party that didn’t try to eat its own?

I understand and respect that millions of Democrats prefer Senator Obama.  I’ve never tried to talk my friends and acquaintances out of supporting him, although many (not all) have tried to talk me out of supporting Clinton by telling me what a corrupt and unscrupulous monster she is.  (Well, maybe they’re right–just look at how her ambition has obviously made her a terrible mother.  Look at her wretched twin daughters, the entitled snots who brim with noblesse but can’t be bothered to muster an ounce of nobligeOh–wait.  Nevermind.)  What I find striking is that my conversations with Obama supporters (on-line, by phone, and in person) often devolve quickly into demands that I answer for this or that position of Clinton’s which they cannot abide, as though I’m supporting Charles Manson for president.  The thing they mention more often than any other is the illegal war in Iraq that she started single-handedly, and that she continues to prosecute to this day against all evidence that this makes the United States safer, and against the will of the American people.  (Oh–wait.  Nevermind.)

All kidding aside, we should remember who is really to blame for the past 7 years of disasterous foreign and domestic policy, and his name isn’t Hillary Clinton.   Also, for those of you who are hung up on the AUMF vote, please remember that Clinton cast the same yes vote that every man who ran for President from the Senate in 2004 and 2008 cast, with the exception of Bob Graham, and I don’t recall Democrats getting nearly this worked up about the boys’ votes either in the primary or in the general election.  29 Democrats voted yes, and 21 voted no, and by the way, big Obama supporters Tom Daschle and Chris Dodd voted yes, too.  Also, I don’t recall Bob Graham doing terribly well in the 2003-04 primary race.  How funny, then, that Democrats loyally rallied around John Kerry in 2004 without too much nose-holding.  I guess he had one advantage that Clinton doesn’t have, and that my friends, seems to make all the difference.

39 Comments »

May
8th 2014
“Marginalized, sexualized, and pitted against each other since time began”

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & unhappy endings & women's history

Rebecca Traister, who wrote Big Girls Don’t Cry, the single best book about the 2008 Democratic primary contest, has written about Monica Lewinsky’s essay in Vanity Fair, and has supersmart things to say about our tendency to cherchez les femmes instead of placing the blame for men’s poor behavior where it belongs–on the men.  Instead of antagonists, she writes, Lewinsky and Hillary Clinton are doppelgangers:

In the fervid investigation and coverage of it, both women got hammered—as slutty and frigid, overweight and ugly, dumb and monstrous. They each became cartoons of dismissible femininity—the sexually defined naïf and the calculating, sexless aggressor, characters who illustrated the ways that sex—sex that’s had by men as well—always redounds negatively on women. These two women weren’t at odds; they were in it together.

.       .       .       .       .

The reason that, no matter what they do, neither woman can ever shake this old story is that it is never-ending; and it is important. It is the story of women in the United States: marginalized, sexualized, and pitted against each other since time began in an attempt to keep them at the fringes of a power structure and very far from the top of it.

Go read the whole thing.  (Why isn’t this woman a staff writer at a legacy magazine like The New Republic, The Nation, or The New Yorker?  I sure as $hit would rather read her than Adam “let me sell tell you about my adorably precocious children” Gopnik, or some of the other very predictable writers at those publications.)  Continue Reading »

16 Comments »

May
4th 2014
Giving to the office at the office: are you f^(king kidding me?

Posted under American history & bad language & jobs & local news & unhappy endings & wankers

excellenceI just received a telephone solicitation from a student at Baa Ram U. to donate money to support programs at Baa Ram U.  I realize that because the Democratic politicians in my state (who have been running the show for the last nine years!) are so gonad-free that state colleges and universities are literally going begging.  I also get it that “development” is all the rage.  Everyone’s got their hat out these days.

But I still feel pretty goddamned miffed about being asked to donate to my own damn employer.  The steady stream of solicitations had been until tonight confined to paper and email pleas for support.  (Curse you, stupid land line!)  I’m really interested to hear how the rest of you university and college employees feel about being solicited for donations by your employers, because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

Here’s my thinking:  Continue Reading »

43 Comments »

March
19th 2014
Memo to Dems and CSU-P faculty: you need a little F.U.

Posted under American history & captivity & childhood & Gender & jobs & local news & race & women's history

Much prettier than Kevin Spacey

Much prettier than Kevin Spacey.

Hilarious headline at The Daily Beast by Dean Obeidallah:  “Dems Need to Channel ‘House of Cards’ Frank Underwood” in order to try to avoid electoral disaster this fall.  Actually, the headline was the only amusing part of that article; if only we had Democrats as tough as Frank!  The rest of the article is full of predictable and sensible advice like “turn out your base!” and “crank up the fear factor” about the Republicans!  Well, duh.  That might work, but it sure is a lot less fun to watch than House of Cards.

I was hoping that the article was itself a brilliant, murderous plot full of twists, turns, and of course SPOILER ALERT Continue Reading »

2 Comments »

July
29th 2013
Identity politics + aggressive ignorance = teh stupid

Posted under bad language & jobs & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

Reza Aslan defends himself against charges of “bias” in his new book on Fox News by pointing out that he is a prominent scholar who writes about many religions.  Slate says that “this may just be the single most cringe-worthy, embarrassing interview on Fox News:”

Fox News anchor Lauren Green had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”*

But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan. Continue Reading »

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