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Politics or: the art of looking for trouble « Clantily Scad: Dyslexistentialist Commentary of the Culturally Incorrect Kind

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Admiral Bachmann talking about Anchor Babies.

“To a state… where dreams are made and crushed.” -Real quote from the 10/18/11 debate opener, unlike the rest of this post.

Welcome the annotated transcript of The Real World: Las Vegas. I mean, Western Republican/CNN Presidential Primary Debate. Snort your hopes and dreams in Nevada.

Anderson Cooper takes a break from encouraging kids to break their necks to grace us with his silver fox presence for yet another liberal-media-makes-awkward-conservative-associations debate.

Rick Perry: “Waving my hands desperately to address the American People makes me more credible.”

Herman Cain: “I should have gotten an immunity pendant from the last debate.”

Michelle Bachmann: “My flashy outfit could not compensate for CNN’s 5-person-wide camera shot of the stage and their strategic placement of me at the end.”

Newt Gingrich: “I found my centrist God while on a nuclear vision quest on Yucca Mountain.”

Ron Paul: “Avoid the question. Avoid the question. Talk about freedom. Avoid the question.”

Rick Santorum: “Being a massive dick will help me seem more straight.”

Mitt Romney: “I’m going to knife Rick Santorum backstage after this show. I’m not going to bother with Rick Perry, because I think he’s already accidentally knifed himself.”

My analysis of the last debate, specifically the 9-9-9 plan is here. Annotated transcripts of previous debates here and here.

@ChaseRoper tweets, “I’m feverishly taking notes of this debate so I can work up a spec script and pitch it as Saw VIII. #tweetthepress #GOPdebate”

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: CNN debate, Las Vegas debate, live-blog, Nevada Debate, October 18 debate, western republican leadership conference

Admittedly, some people chose to stand their grounds as the NYPD repeatedly told them to back off, but those who wanted to move really couldn’t. There was no space to get away. And these horses were pushed into the crowd… I didn’t understand and continue to not understand what the NYPD was trying to do.

-Ryan Devereaux, Reporter for Democracy Now!

Times Square on October 15.  Some serious footage.

Thoughts:

#1. Police Horses are still a thing?

#2. Police Horses should not be a thing. Poor horse (1:30).

#3. That is definately some unnecessary shoving of heads between 2:00-2:16.

#4. The police brutality seems to always be by the white shirt cops. Apparently, you get promoted in the NYPD by being a violent dick.

#5. Whatever happened to Tony Bologna? Mr. Pepper-spray-o-matic? Still under investigation, according to the Manhattan DA.

Consumer-created media is public accountability.  Use it.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: #ows, Occupy Wall Street, police brutality, police horses, times square, white shirt cop

Ezra Klein published a post this Saturday at his Washington Post-based blog about the current state of the US economy and how we got here.

The Washington Post blog article “Could this time have been different?” focuses not on what could be, but rather on the decisions that were made, the forecasts surrounding them, and the difficulty in making economic policy match economic models.

Summary:

In post-Lehman and post-housing bubble collpase December 2008, Christina Romer flew to Chicago to brief then President-elect Obama on economic forecasts with and without proposed stimulus plans.  Her models were considered the mainstream, implementing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Federal Reserve.

Her predictions were bleak. But after The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, reality turned out to be bleaker.  When unemployment peaked over 10% in late 2009, the mainstream proved to be wrong.

In reality, the administration could only hit it with everything it could persuade Congress to give. And that wasn’t enough… But it is hard to credit the argument that the stimulus could have been much larger at the outset… Even if Congress had been more accommodating, there was a challenge to vastly increasing the size of the initial stimulus: The more you spend, the less effective each new dollar would become.

  • According to Klein, there were alternative stimulus models that the administration could have followed.  Unemployment benefits, state and local aid, and tax cut legislation could have been broken into separate legislation and spread over a longer time frame rather than being set to expire after two years.  But, even if that were done and coupled with short-term infrastructure plans, there’s little reason to believe they would have positively affected unemployment.
  • Klein believes that one of the Obama administration’s main failure was focusing on stimulus rather than housing policy.  The  leigslation they did pass, “The Home Affordable Modification Program” and “The Home Affordable Refinance Program” were weak and ineffectual, falling short on their goals to help homeowners.  Proposals to force banks to eat the debt, and forgive homeowners, were shot down due to fears of causing more unpopular bailouts.
  • The Fed could have proposed to increase inflation, which would decrease the real value of debt and make US exports more competitive.  But creating inflation is difficult when demand for goods is low and Bernanke was skeptical it could even be done.
  • While government-incentives such as subsidized salaries for private sector and a no-layoff policy  for all public positions are costly for short-term recessions, Klein argues they make sense for the long-term by preventing further stagnation and loss of employee value.

Ezra Klein believes that the Obama administration did too little, ignored its Keynsian roots, and could have had more aggressive legislation with better outcomes.  He shies away, though, from pointing to exact policies that would lead to specific numbers.

Klein also laments the unfortunate politics involved.  The voters don’t see the jobs we saved or give the stimulus credit for what it did do.  Yes, things could have been different, and could have been better.  But even as The Great Stagnation pans out, hindsight may never be 20/20.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: Ezra Klein, keynesian, Obama administration failures, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, unemployment predictions 2008, Washington Post, wonkblog

My previous commentary are Slutwalk is here and here.

Racialicious blogged a post yesterday entitled “Which Women Are What Now? Slutwalk NYC and Failures in Solidarity” which features this picture from Slutwalk NYC:

The term, coined by Yoko Ono, became the eponymous title of  a song, “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” performed by John Lennon.

At first glance, the sign utterly confused me.  I hadn’t heard of the song.  The “of” was awkwardly place, making it grammatically unintelligible. It didn’t present as a coherent message, and that’s a possible explanation of why the sign’s holder faced delayed criticism.

After reading the article I believe that the theme the woman was attempting to convey here was the reappropriation of pejorative terms, by referencing what Yoko referred to as a pro-feminist song and making a analogy to the “nigger” reclamation movement to Slutwalk’s reclamation movement for word “slut.” (The analogy is flawed, anyway, since Yoko’s song wasn’t necessarily about term reclamation.)

Both the song and sign have been decried in the blogosphere as “racist.”  Slutwalk organizers have also announced their disapproval for the sign.

Racialicious posted a follow-up post,”Slutwalk, Slurs, and Why Feminism Still Has Race Issues,” in which the author included an emotional response to the comments on their previous post about solidarity in feminism:

Arguing that black people don’t have a monopoly on the term nigger is just fucking disgusting.

Wait, what?  When did the argument that they do have a monopoly on a language’s cultural meaning ever make sense?  The person who wrote this post is obviously not a supporters to those who have been trying to re-appropriate the word, for cultural purposes, for decades.  Interestingly enough, the previous post was about lack of solidarity in movements.

If you wanted to apply this type on logic to Slutwalk, then men who are arguably ineligible for the defamatory title would have no place in the the pro-feminist movement, which I feel is obviously flawed reasoning and hurts progression.

crunktasticCollapse had one of the more articulate comments on the topic of word reappropriation:

“But the idea that it’s fine to appropriate the term nigger without critical engagement of the word and what it represents to the women who are marching with you gives me pause.” Yes. Absolutely.

But doesn’t this critique hold true for the appropriation of the word “slut” as well? It seems to me that this kind of egregious misstep was bound to happen within a movement that has as one of its central tenets the reappropriation of an offensive word. There are a few major models of this kind of reappropriation–those which come out of queer activism and disability activism, in particular. But the “sexiest,” and most provocative of these models is of course, Black folks’ attempt more or less successfully –less I would argue–to reappropriate the n-word.

I’m not going to spend time to parse why semantics evolve, and why cultural shifts of pejorative words to neutral or positive words can be a good thing.  (For those who can’t parse language properly, that means I am for the reappropriation of words such as a slut. And no, “reappropriate” is not a logical inconsistently since the “re” refers to the act of defining again, not the implication that is was once “mine.”

But I want to pose a couple questions.  You don’t have to limit your comments as answers. Unlike some blogs, I do not like to moderate my comments, even unpalatable or off-topic ones.  Questions may or may not be flame bait:

Has the movement to reclaim “nigger” been successful?  To what degree?  How would “success” be defined?

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: nigger, racialicious, racism, sexism, Slutwalk, slutwalk NYC criticism, Woman is the Nigger of the World, word reappropriation, word reclamation

It was a moderately cool and rainy Sunday afternoon and I had just gotten off the R train into Lower Manhattan.  My plans were to head to Liberty Street and I had high expectations to see disheveled, unyielding activists pitched in tents, ardently protesting America’s corporate greed and corruption.

With my hippie-dar momentarily disoriented upon exiting the underground, I decided the follow the unshaven, long-haired fellow donning an American flag trenchcoat and white Christmas lights draped across his back.

My navigational technique proved effective.  For the hirsute one led me straight into a Drum Circle:

Honestly, I was a little disappointed with Occupy Wall Street’s home base.  Despite what it looks like in the 360 pan, the crowd ends on three of those sides beyond them with a few police officers standing on the fringes looking bored.   I’ve been in much larger drum circles in upstate NY that had no cause.

I feel that Zuccotti Park’s main problem is that relative to other parks it’s pretty tiny.  But it is the closest park to Wall Street.  Also, Zuccotti Park privately owned, but available to the public and so the police are urging the real estate owners to let them stay under this legal grey area.

They also really needed a less vague series of messages:

Photo by The Gothamist

Overview of the movement here.

Categories: Autobiographical Stories, Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: #occupy, #ows, 360 pan, drum circle, hippies, Liberty Square, Occupy Wall Street, occupy wallstreet, protestors

The congregations of protestors loosely associated with the “Occupy Wall Street Protest” has hit the 12th day of their resistance movement in Lower Manhattan today, September 29, 2011.

Occupy Wallst dot org is the unofficial de facto planning group committed to providing support to the protestors supporting the movement against political influence of the business world.  While a “leaderless group”–they have no official goals or support specific legislation–their base shares a general spirit to persuade the US people and government, according to the site,  ”to no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the [top wealthy] 1 percent.”

Video of arrests here:

Many more amateur videos can be found with the youtube search term “Occupy Wall Street.”

In their Sept. 29 video, Democracy Now! interviews Michael Moore and talks to one of the protestors that allegedly experienced police brutality.  Michael Moore participated with the crowds, who were not allowed by public law to set up PA systems, by rallying them to repeat anti-Wall Street corruption chants aloud as a group in Liberty Square.

It is perfectly legal to video tape a police officer on duty.  Stand up to police brutality.  (Do this discreetly, when possible; police are often ignorant of the law and will destroy evidence of their abuse in situations with less accountability.)  The right to film police was recently upheld as a constitutional right in New England’s First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Police who were caught on film pepper spraying female protestors, are currently under investigation by the NYC DA.

A Civil Rights Attorney comments on the right of the people to assemble and establish temporary tents of a reasonable size:

Categories: Knowledge has vagina dentata so don’t you fuck with it, Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: civil rights, Democracy Now, Michael Moore, Occupy Wall St, Occupy Wall St videos, Occupy Wallstreet Movement, police brutality

Move over muffins.  Cupcakes are the new story this week in controversial political news.

Campus Republicans at the University of California Berkeley will be selling cupcakes on Tuesday at an “Increase Diversity Bake Sale.”

In their tiered cost system, white men will pay $2 per cupcake, Asians will pay $1.50, Latinos will pay $1, African Americans will pay 75¢  and Native Americans 25¢ cents per cupcake. Women will get 25¢ off all prices, said the original Facebook event invitation, which has since been changed according to student newspaper The Daily Californian.

The bake sale is a satirical protest of SB 185, which, if signed by Brown, would allow California public universities to consider a number of non-academic factors such as race, gender and nationality in the admissions process in order to increase campus diversity.

Th bill’s text states:

The California State University may, consider race, gender,
ethnicity, national origin, geographic origin, and household income,
along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate
admissions, so long as no preference is given.

This consideration may take place if and when the university, campus, 
college, school, or program is attempting to obtain educational 
benefit through therecruitment of a multifactored, diverse student 
body.

That language, “so long as no preference is given,” confuses me.  If you are considering a characteristic such as race or gender as a factor in the decision-making to admit or not admit a student based on the school’s anticipated student body, then that consideration, by definition, is “preference.”

Affirmative action applied to higher education disturbs me.  The logic is uses to attempt to “help” disadvantage groups ends up devaluing the accomplishments of individuals by choosing them based on the social group to which they belong rather than their qualifications.  It can hinder general progress and result in more discrimination.

I’m no libertarian; I like progressive taxation too much.  But I’m certainly center of far-left with opinions such as this.

At this bake sale, though, I think they fucked up the satire aspect, if they wanted to direct it towards this specific bill.  I’m not entirely sure why, as an Asian woman I would get a 75 cent discount, when in the University of California system, I’m guessing Asian women are a statistically high proportion of the student body relative to their proportion in the general population and would be among those to suffer the most from this bill.

Anyway, cupcakes suck.  They have a distinctively cheap texture and flavor from the cake to the icing.  Even after my discount, I would not pay $1.25 for this abomination of the culinary arts.

Here’s a recipe for cheesecake cupcakes.  I couldn’t find the exact ones I made before, but I also added a little freshly grated lemon zest and used Neufchatel cheese instead of sour cream.  Drizzled on top with blueberry jam.  Mmmm, cheesecake.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: cupcakes suck, Increase Diversity Bake Sale, racist cupcakes, satire fail, SB 185, UC: Berkeley

Rick Santorum awkwardly pretending he’s not suing one of the sponsors of this debate.

Not only is Google-Fox an awkward partnership, but Rick Santorum, who seemingly forgot how freedom of speech works, is in the middle of litigating Google because his children can’t Google search his name.

Mitt Romney: “My book has absolutely no lies and has been ratified by Massachusetts, our Founding Fathers, and Joseph Smith. But nice try, Rick Perry, nice try.”

Rick Perry: “I have no articulate rebuttal to Mr. Great Hair, because I have the debate skills of a drunk marmoset. I would, however, like to see Cain and Gingrich mate and make their lovechild my VP.”

Jon Huntsman: “I can prove I’m less of an asshole this round!”

Herman Cain: “We can fix everything because everything is broken! Just use the Chilean model (minus the trapped miners).”

Rick Santorum: “I forgot what DADT was.”

Michelle Bachmann: “I forgot that Ronald Reagan actually had a lower approval rating than Obama has right now.”

Ron Paul: “I’m only relevant in straw polls!”

Newt Gingrich: “I’m only relevant in the 90s!”

Gary Johnson: “Since Tim Pawlenty is out I claim his ‘Who the Fuck is That Guy?” title!”

FOX Crowd: “Where’s the tail-gate party for racist homophobes?”
—-

Read the live-blog from the last debate, the CNN/Tea Party debate, here or my annotated transcript from the September Politico debate here.

Read the real, full transcript at Politisite. Or watch TPM’s Debate in 100 Seconds video. Some of the jokes here (like the Cain-Gingrich lovechild joke) will make more sense if you do.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: Fox news, Google, GOP primary, GOP Primary candidates, GOP primary debate, Rick Santorum, September 22

Mother Jones doesn’t like dubious math:

So did DOJ really pay $16 for muffins? Of course not. In fact, it’s obvious that someone quite carefully calculated the amount they were allowed to spend and then gave the hotel a budget. The hotel agreed, but for some reason decided to divide up the charges into just a few categories instead of writing a detailed invoice for every single piece of food they provided.

  • I don’t like the new toolbar at the top that WordPress implemented for its bloggers.  I felt like the last one was better organized.  This one breaks down links into too many sub-categories and some of them are redundant.
  • Anyone who remembers Myspace, i.e. over 21, remember Tom?  He’s got a Facebook.  And he’s apparently a Facebook corporate whore now.
  • Speaking of FB, it keeps making chatty noises at me when I’m not actually getting IMs.  I’m not sure what it means.  Is this the side news feed thing that everyone thinks is useless?  Whatever it is, it’s annoying.
  • I will not be live blogging the debate tonight, mostly because Fox says it’s going to be 2 hours long and I like not sitting on my ass for 2 hours.  It’s 9:30 and mostly it’s just been talking point after talking point, “You’re book lies!,” and a classic Fox-noxious crowd.

◦Who the fuck is Gary Johnson?

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble, Uncategorized Tags: $16 muffin, mother jones, new facebook, WordPress toolbar

I’m going to drop some knowledge on lady-part business today, followed up with some commentary on the HPV vaccine mandate debate going on among the GOP primary contenders. I’m also going to drop my CPhT credentials here, since I’m talking about health care and am technically a health care professional.

I received the Gardasil vaccinations against the Human Papilloma Virus last year. It’s a total of three shots over 6 months. Under Merck’s prescription assistance plan at Planned Parenthood, the vaccines cost $31 each/$93 total. (Without insurance, they’re pretty pricey, between $100-180 depending on your pharmacy and whether your MD prescribes the vial or the pre-prepared syringe.)

might already have HPV, since I was active for several years with more experienced partners before getting vaccinated. HPV is estimated to be the most common of all STIs. Studies of prevalence vary, but they generally agree that at least 30% of all women will have at least one form of HPV by mid-adulthood. Condoms may help, but will not fully prevent the transmission of HPV.

HPV is normally detected when a routine pap smears shows cervical abnormalities. The pap smear isn’t the official HPV test; there’s also a DNA test performed for high-risk women or those whose paps come back abnormal.  There are no FDA-approved HPV tests for men.

Most infected men and women will live out their happy lives completely unaware, but certain high-risk strains can cause genital warts and more disconcerting, cervical cancer.

—–

At the Tea Party Debate, Michele Bachmann spun a second-hand story of HPV vaccine causing mental retardation, which several fact check sites and doctors everywhere debunked immediately.

The point of her story, of course, was to draw ire to Rick Perry’s unpopular HPV vaccination mandate for girls entering middle-school. On February 2, 2007, Texas became the first state to enact a mandate-by executive order from the governor that all females entering the sixth grade receive the vaccine, with a parental opt-out option. The state legislature disagreed, overturned the mandate with H.B. 1098, and at that point, Perry withheld his veto.

Rick Perry’s rebuttal during Tea Party debate included the statement that he only received a $5,000 donation from HPV vaccine maker Merck. But that figure only refers to funds donated by Merck’s political action committee during Perry’s re-election campaign. The Washington Post finds that Perry’s campaigns have received almost $30,000 from Merck since 2000 and the drug maker has given $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006—which Perry chaired twice and has contributed around $4 million to his campaigns. One of Merck’s top three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, Perry’s former chief of staff.

Toomey’s mother-in-law, the former Texas state Rep. Dianne White Delisi (R), was a state director for Women in Government, another organization heavily funded by Merck.

—–

I fainted for a few seconds during my first shot. I had been told to eat before coming in to prevent this side-effect, and I did eat a McMuffin meal but had finished it only a few minutes before I arrived at the clinic. That was obviously not enough time to get my blood sugar levels up.

Passing out during a shot is an example of a vasovagal response, an automatic nervous system response to needles going into your skin. Compared to other intramuscular injections, Gardasil has an increased risk of this fainting, also called syncope. For the next two shots, I ate at least an hour before going in and the shots went peachy. No light-headedness at all.

In terms of pain, this shot was worse than the flu shot, but not nearly as bad as the meningococcal vaccine I had to get for college in New York.  I would recommend it to all sexually active ladies, because I’m sure paying $93 is nothing compared to cervical cancer.

Information Is Beautiful finds that the HPV vaccines are extremely safe. (Nice infographics too.)

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: cervical cancer, Gardasil, Gardasil stories, HPV, HPV testing, HPV vaccine, human papilloma virus, Merck, rick perry, Tea Party Debate, women’s health