From Pine View Farm

June, 2013 archive

“Judicial Activism” Is a Republican Thing 0

Right-wing justices adhere faithfully to an immutable document:

The Republican Party Platform.

Erwin Chemerinsky explains in the Sacramento Bee. A snippet (emphasis added):

The just-completed Supreme Court term gave a clear sense of the judicial philosophy of its conservative majority: Follow the Republican platform.

It was striking that the conservative justices professed the need to defer to Congress when that supported a conservative result and to give no deference when it wouldn’t. And in cases involving federal statutes, time and again, the conservative justices went out of their way to protect big business over the interests of employees, consumers and small business even when it meant negating the clear will of Congress.

For decades, conservatives have professed a belief in judicial restraint and a desire to decide cases based on a neutral judicial methodology. This term, as much as any, shows that this is nonsense and it is an emperor with no clothes.

“A Giant Leap into the Present” (Updated) 0

This is delightful.

Via C&L.

Addendum, Later That Same Day:

In related news, the Commander Guy explains how gay-bashing is a logical outcome of Richard Nixon’s odious Southern Strategy and how the persons it recruited to the Republican Party have come to control it. A snippet:

I believe gay bashing is the result of the Southern Strategy, i.e., the decision to transform from the Party of Established interests in to the party of all whites by adding Catholics, Jewish folks and ethnic whites to their coalition of Northern WASPs which had dominated the GOP for the previous 100 years. To get the party started, race based appeals are crucial. But as time goes on race based appeals started to bring diminishing returns. Then Party Leaders turned to white evangelicals (or religious fundamentalists as Sullivan puts it) to bolster their percentage of the white vote.

Mainline Protestant and Evangelical Groups having reconciled after their earlier Civil War era split once again diverged after WWII over the issue of race, with Mainline groups identifying racial discrimination as a big problem (see: Holocaust, The) and Evangelical groups preferring that people should accept the social situation they were born into (hint: they mean black folks). Picking “Family Values” Dan Quayle as a VP candidate is an example of this strategy in action – the GOP telling Evangelicals that we are one of you now.

The Voter Fraud Fraud 0

Republicans singing

Catch 22.

It’s the best catch there is.

Let J. M. Ashby explain.

Image via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog.

Guest Appearances 0

Tales of horror.

A few years ago, Ellen and her husband hosted a christening party for 50 people honoring the new child of her brother and that sister-in-law. The visiting family’s contribution? A few dozen ears of sweet corn. “They drank all our liquor and replaced nothing,” Ellen said. “They never opened their pocketbooks.” When it was time to leave, the relatives wrapped up all the leftover food and put it in their suitcases. Then they asked Ellen and her husband to please mail their gifts and clothing to them. At least they said please.

More guest appearances at the link.

School for Scamdal 0

Lies and lying liars: Dick Polman post mortems the IRS non-scandal.

It was a put-up job, a con, a rigged game, a Republican snow job, a tissue of lies.

Last Monday, lest we forget, newly-surfaced IRS documents made it abundantly clear that the Republican scandalmonger’s central premise was a fraud. Issa had repeatedly alleged that Obama (or his White House minions, or his ’12 campaign team) had commanded the IRS to unfairly target conservative groups. But now it turns out that the Cincinnati IRS office targeted liberal groups just as often, using key words like “progressive” and “Occupy” and “medical marijuana.” Turns out, the IRS office took these shortcuts because it wanted to determine whether blatantly political groups – on the left and right – were trying to mask themselves as apolitical in order to get tax-exempt status.

But wait, didn’t the original IRS inspector general’s report single out the agency’s targeting of conservative groups? Why did it fail to mention the targeting of liberal groups? This week, we learned the answer. According to a spokesman for the inspector general, Issa himself specifically told the IG to “narrowly focus on Tea party organizations.”

More about lies and lying liars at the link.

A Failure of Arithmetic 0

I received a postcard yesterday with the shattering news that my nine-year old truck with 110,000 mostly trouble-free miles on it would shortly be out from under its one-year factory warranty.

Read more »

iJunked: The Gadgetification of Education 1

Der Spiegel:

Some of the ideas that may have occurred to Jobs are now on display in the Netherlands. Eleven “Steve Jobs schools” will open in August, with Amsterdam among the cities that will be hosting such a facility. Some 1,000 children aged four to 12 will attend the schools, without notebooks, books or backpacks. Each of them, however, will have his or her own iPad.

There will be no blackboards, chalk or classrooms, homeroom teachers, formal classes, lesson plans, seating charts, pens, teachers teaching from the front of the room, schedules, parent-teacher meetings, grades, recess bells, fixed school days and school vacations. If a child would rather play on his or her iPad instead of learning, it’ll be okay. And the children will choose what they wish to learn based on what they happen to be curious about.

The one certainty about this is sales of iJunk: twice the price for half as much.

The rest is a combination of wishful thinking and charlatanry, like sleep learning, “Baby Einstein,” and cyber schools.

The Ratings Game 0

Via C&L, which has a summary.

QOTD 0

Yip Harburg:

All the heroes of tomorrow are the heretics of today.

Facebook Frolics 3

Crackdown. From The Guardian:

Facebook is to crack down on ads running next to offensive material by launching a new system that will create a blacklist of pages and groups that contain any violent, graphic or sexual content, even if it previously passed its community standards.

More at the link.

The surprising take-away about this is that Facebook has “community standards.”

Take the Quiz 0

Are you smart enough to be a citizen?

I scored a 64.

Via Vivian Paige.

Susie Sampson Infiltrates Netroots Nation 0

How Literate Are You? 0

Political Prof has posted a copy of a Louisiana literacy test ca. 1964. It was administered to (black) folks who wanted to register to vote.

See how you can do.

You have 10 minutes: the passing score is 100%.

“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Spread random acts of politeness.

Kissimmee police are trying to find out who shot bullets into eight homes in two city neighborhoods.

The Deen of Southern Culture 0

The Rude One shares his take on the Paula Deen situation.

It’s not what you’d expect (warning: rudeness).

Like Chauncey Devega, he is able to look beyond an instance of a specific racist slur and see larger issues.

Electronic Scrubbing 0

In New York Magazine, Graeme Wood tells a fascinating tale of digital dishwashing. A nugget:

But sometime in the last decade, the practice of furiously Googling people stopped being creepy and became standard operating procedure. Today, the market in online-reputation management is estimated to be nearly $5 billion, with hundreds of companies devoted to monitoring, improving, and even policing your online profile. The most famous of them, Reputation.com, advertises on NPR and charges in the low thousands of dollars for a basic scrubbing, which involves creating factual but flattering social-media accounts and websites, and more for bespoke guidance about how to protect your reputation online.

That work is not really any slimier than the work of PR firms offline—relentlessly accentuating the positive and hoping no one asks about the negative. But in the digital world, with anonymously registered websites, it’s easier to create natural-seeming whisper campaigns, positive or negative, and disavow any role in them. Michael Zammuto, president of Reputation Changer, founded in 2010, says he has seen numerous clients try to beat Google by flooding the web with junky self-glorifying sites. “These strategies never work over the long term,” he says. “There are no shortcuts.”

Facebook Frolics 0

Oops.

QOTD 0

Salvador Dali:

Many people do not reach their eighties because they try to stay in their forties too long.

Gut Out the Vote 3

Plus ca change.

“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Be polite in the parking lot.

A drunken Houston man shot himself in the head Thursday morning as he played with a gun in the parking lot of a local business, police said.