Probably the best thing Obama has going for him in his reelection campaign is that John Kasich so overreached in his union-busting tactics, making the people of Ohio very angry at the Republican Party. My year in rural Ohio was eye-opening, having coincided with the 2010 midterms. Ohio is a strongly pro-union, pro-economic justice as any state in the country. But the good people of the Buckeye State are also susceptible to the cultural warfare card Republicans play. That’s the threat to Obama. Particularly when you get into southeast Ohio, the open racism skyrockets. And had Kasich not reminded Ohioans that Republicans will take away your good jobs, Ohio could very much be a toss-up. But it really isn’t and combined with Republican failures to make inroads in Pennsylvania, the electoral math still looks grim for Romney, even assuming Ryan flips Wisconsin.
Author Page for Erik Loomis
Which U.S. president wins in a knife fight? The rules:
To begin, here were the original conditions of the hypothetical, as suggested by the redditor Xineph:
Every president is in the best physical and mental condition they were ever in throughout the course of their presidency. Fatal maladies have been cured, but any lifelong conditions or chronic illnesses (e.g. FDR’s polio) remain.
The presidents are fighting in an ovular arena 287 feet long and 180 feet wide (the dimensions of the  Roman Colosseum). The floor is concrete. Assume that weather is not a factor.
Each president has been given one standard-issue  Gerber LHR Combat Knife , the knife  presented to each graduate of the United States Army Special Forces Qualification Course. Assume the presidents have no training outside any combat experiences they may have had in their own lives.
There is no penalty for avoiding combat for an extended period of time. Hiding and/or playing dead could be valid strategies, but there can be only one winner. The melee will go on as long as it needs to.
FDR has been outfitted with a  Bound Plus H-Frame Power Wheelchair, and can travel at a maximum speed of around 11.5 MPH. The wheelchair has been customized so that he is holding his knife with his dominant hand. This is to compensate for his almost certain and immediate defeat in the face of an overwhelming disadvantage.
Each president will be deposited in the arena regardless of their own will to fight, however, personal ethics, leadership ability, tactical expertise etc., should all be taken into account. Alliances are allowed.
I expect everyone to have obvious answers here. But is the result so obvious as to feature TR, Jackson, and Washington? I don’t know that things would go this way. Personally, I might put some money down on Lyndon Johnson. And Zachary Taylor was a tough, tough man.
What is the flag of the United States of America?
I bet you thought it was this:
Such a nice flag. Doesn’t it want to make you eat some apples, light some fireworks, steal the natural resources of poorer countries.
And it’s so versatile. Here are a couple of beautiful examples.
But that’s just the flag for you and I, the flag of the 99%. The United States of America has two official flags. There’s also the flag of the 1%. Until now, it was known as the flag of the Cayman Islands:
Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.
The floating party, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid.
“I think it’s ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn’t even pay its taxes,” said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.
Romney’s Cayman-based investments have come under fire during the campaign.
The event, attended by no more than 50 people, along with Romney relatives, including older brother Scott, appeared on no public calendars. ABC News obtained a schedule of the Romney campaign’s “Victory Council” and waited dockside to speak with members.
“It was a really nice event. These are good supporters,” said billionaire Wilbur Ross, an energy industry executive.
I mean, we could criticize Romney for holding an event on a yacht called the CRACKER BAY (!!!) with a flag demonstrating that this billionaire, like the Republican candidate himself, pays no taxes to the United States government.
But then that would be insulting the real flag of the United States of America, the one that allows plutocrats to concentrate their wealth. Which is the true meaning of America after all.
Maybe it’s a good thing that the LGM event in New Orleans got canceled.
Because it turns out that we are on stage in beautiful Franklin, Pennsylvania this weekend–and no one even told us!
This is easy enough for me since I’m in the area but the rest of the crew better hightail it out here to western Pennsylvania.
And boy howdy are you all in for a treat. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Farley’s comedy show based around battleships. Lemieux and djw will be doing their updated “Who’s on First” routine. SEK will be literally driving on stage in his own Batmobile.
As for me, I’ll naturally be doing my 1 man show on the Centralia Massacre. Whether I mock castrate myself like the lynchers are supposed to have done to Wesley Everest, well, you’ll just have to pay the $25 to find out.
Sadly, I don’t have any more historical films of boxing cats to show you. But General Motors’s bizarre animal newsreel series from the mid 1930s was more than just boxing cats. It was also smoking cows!
One of the generally agreed upon things in the modern, 21st century wealthy nation world (or at least the politically progressive part of that world anyway) is the democracy of the crowd. We love the crowd, whether real or virtual, love being a part of it, participating in it with our technology and sometimes our feet and our voices. We look to our partners in the crowd for good restaurant recs on Yelp, find out what’s happening out in the world on Twitter, feel solidarity from it in Occupy protests. But this is not your old-school crowd of nameless, faceless people called out for rallies by the union president. In the new crowd, we all have equal voices, with our individual rights and feelings protected and even prioritized. We feel empowered to destroy a business’ reputation on our beloved Yelp if they didn’t note a food ingredient we didn’t like in a salad we ordered. Each and every one of us (or at least a few of us in combination) can grind an Occupy meeting to a halt if we loudly register our anger at this or that position, or just because we aren’t comfortable with the process.
We love this tension between the crowd and the individual, the empowering solidarity, even if we wouldn’t necessarily call it that with most of our online interactions. But is the individual just as manipulated by the crowd of other individuals as by a corporation or political party or any other institution? In our empowered individualism within a huge community of equally empowered individuals, are we any more savvy? Are we participating in a democratic process through an Occupy protest or is the bogged-down consensus process that Occupy so values an open opportunity for stools from the police to sabotage the movement’s ability to do anything (I’m not saying this actually happened, but given the history of police infiltration in American social movements, it seems quite plausible. Plus the answer to the above question is likely both)? Is an anarchist who is showing influence within a movement and convinces some other people to break windows without larger approval from the entire movement a committed thinker or an agent provocateur?
For that matter, is there any reason to believe any kind of customer review online? This Times piece on professional “reviewers” being paid by self-published authors to give positive reviews, a process that seems to lead to increased sales for many, suggests to me that we, even the most supposedly savvy of us, are as manipulated now as ever. The crowd and the empowered individual does not protect us in any way, in fact, it may make us more vulnerable as our confidence lets our guard down.
On Twitter, Matt Zeitlin (@MattZeitlin) said about the Times article, “Possible future scenario: online customer reviews are ruined, publishers become more authoritative.” I thought that was interesting. Does the fact that anyone can say anything mean that all statements become equally worthless without some kind of expertise to back it up? For that matter, could we see a future where, as a broader society, we see the pendulum swing back toward expertise and institutionalized leadership in books, politics, or all the other ways in which we distrust expertise today?
And while it may seem that comparing political movements and profiteering manipulation on websites are apples and oranges, in my mind they are part of the same phenomenon.
Obviously I could be wrong about all of this, but it’s what I’ve been thinking about in my spare moments for the last few days.
As some of you probably know, the NFL has refused to sign a new contract with the referees union and has pulled together crews of scab referee labor. They are terrible. The players are outraged, even in meaningless preseason games. The referees are incompetent amateurs way above their heads. It’s a joke, one that I think the NFL can only pull during the preseason. The calls have been so egregiously terrible that no one can take them seriously.
In the various labor communities in which I play a small role, there’s been talk that everyone should refuse to watch the NFL so that we don’t support scab labor.
While one can argue this might be a good tactic in other scenarios, I disagree here.*
The best way to get the refs a new contract is for the sporting world to watch and savage the incompetence. More so than any other professional sport, the real power behind the NFL is the fans. That’s especially true when it comes to issues like this–where fans can see the effect on their team’s chances to make the playoffs. The second a terrible call goes against a team and that call costs a team the game, you are going to have millions of people collectively infuriated with the NFL, putting enormous pressure on the league to give the referees a fair contract and bring sanity back to the league.
I think everyone knows this. The referees know they hold a lot of cards here (the fact that most of them are wealthy from other sources also helps). The NFL knows this too. Roger Goodell can give lip service to the scabs all he wants to, but he knows the consequences to him personally if the NFL becomes a laughing stock.
In fact, I find it highly unlikely that the replacement referees call even 1 regular season game. The first game this season is on Wednesday, September 5. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that an agreement is hashed out on the 3rd or 4th.
And if it isn’t, then the strategy is obvious–chronicle every bad call the refs make. The players and coaches will be screaming about it, the fan base will be screaming about it, and it will be THE STORY of the NFL in the early part of the season. That’s something the league can’t handle.
*In fact, I feel the boycott of scab labor is often a reflex used without a lot of analysis. Does it work? What is the best way to handle these issues? I don’t think these are questions even smart labor think about enough. That probably includes me. It probably is a good method frequently. But is it always?
Bruce Bawer, an old white male and writer of anti-Islamic screeds, seems to think that the downfall of higher education is in the “studies.” You know, black studies, women’s studies, gender studies, etc. Classes dedicated to non-white males, which Bawer believes constitutes the opposite of a proper education. Oh poor old “liberal” white males. Things were so much better in the 60s, when white men sat in college classrooms reading sensible white males like Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Anyway, Andrew Delbanco is having none of it, writing a devastating review of Bawer’s new book. Delbanco recognizes the real problems in higher education:
This deliberately intemperate book is a useful reminder that liberal education always faces threats from one kind of intolerance or another. It is ultimately a footnote to Allan Bloom’s 1987 best seller, “The Closing of the American Mind,” to which Bawer pays homage in his subtitle. He’s right to lament the continued decline of the kind of education that Bloom defined as helping “students to pose the question . . . ‘What is man?’ in relation to his highest aspirations” by guiding them to and through “the alternative answers” to be found in great works of art and thought. But in updating that argument, Bawer overlooks the greatest threat to today’s universities. Today, corporate-minded university presidents spout platitudes about “outcome metric” and “game-changing” technologies, while faculty members struggle to piece together a living with multiple part-time jobs, and students search for marketable skills that, they hope, will help them pay off their education debt.
In his foreword to Bloom’s book, Saul Bellow described his friend and University of Chicago colleague as “a front-line fighter in the mental wars of our times.” Taking up arms on behalf of Bloom’s cause 25 years later, Bruce Bawer is fighting a rear-guard action against an enemy who has largely ceded the field to a new philistine army that has no interest in the culture wars. The humanities and “soft” social science departments that Bawer mocks are sinking into insignificance — partly, to be sure, because they have purveyed the kind of buffoonery he decries. Meanwhile, a more formidable enemy has arrived in the form of resolute utilitarians who discourage students from seeking what Bawer wants for them: the chance, through arduous reading and reflection under the guidance of dedicated teachers, to discover themselves.
I will only disagree to the extent that I don’t think there’s a lot of “buffoonery” in the studies departments. Sometimes some of those courses could be more rigorous, but then you could say that about any traditional major in the liberal arts.
Of course, another huge problem is the gigantic con being played against our college students, wherein capitalists and their purchased politician friends push them into online degrees that employers don’t value and do them very little good.
I have no idea how anyone can argue that solitary confinement isn’t a violation of the 8th Amendment. The death penalty is more humane.
Any interesting news in the wingnuttery world today?
A homophobic Maryland lawmaker has admitted to being drunk when he accidentally crashed his boat into a boat full of children.
Maryland delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr was drinking with another man on his boat on the Magothy River in Pasadena around 7pm when his boat struck a smaller vessel with five children on board.
Four of the children were injured with one, a five year old girl, taken by helicopter to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Dwyer, a Tea Party Republican, has in the past suggested that homosexuals were a threat to children and that same-sex marriage would lead to homosexuality being taught in schools.
Dwyer has previously attempted to ban same-sex marriage in Maryland by attaching an amendment to a bill on marriage license fees and sought the sacking or impeachment of public officials who have made decisions that were supportive of same-sex couples having the right to marry.
I’d laugh at the irony of this if it wasn’t for the tragic side of it.
A progressive group called on Republican National Committee leader Pat Rogers to step down on Friday after emails showed him telling New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez’s staff that meeting with a group of American Indians “dishonored” Gen. George Armstrong Custer, the 19th century commander who killed scores of American Indians.
“The state is going to hell,” Rogers, who is a member of the GOP executive committee and is currently in Tampa for the RNC convention, wrote in a June 8 email released by Progress Now New Mexico. Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Col. Allen Weh “would not have dishonored Col Custer in this manner,” he wrote.
Martinez is required by law to attend the annual state-tribal leaders summit, according to Progress Now New Mexico, which called for him to step down.
When discussing racism in this country, it’s easy to forget the level of vitriolic racism against Native Americans in some parts of the American West (I’m looking at you South Dakota). It is very real and shows up in the ugliest imaginable ways.
Also, how can one actually dishonor George Armstrong Custer? Didn’t he dishonor himself by his very existence?
Does anyone else remember when Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on God punishing America for its gays?
So obviously it God was punishing the nation somehow for Hurricane Isaac threatening the Republican National Convention this week in Tampa, right?
LIMBAUGH: So we got a hurricane coming. The National Hurricane Center, which is a government agency, is very hopeful that the hurricane gets near Tampa. The National Hurricane Center is Obama. It’s the National Weather Service, part of the commerce department. It’s Obama. The media, it’s all about the hurricane hitting next week, and they’re not talking about Biden, they’re talking about this Hurricane Isaac thing. Well, you know, we who live in south Florida become experts. We don’t need the National Hurricane Center, and we don’t need all these weather dolts analyzing this for us. Well, we need the center, we can look at their charts and graphs, we know what to do, we can read the stuff. I’ve been tracking the charted forecast track of the storm, and they’re moving it sometimes to the east. The latest, 11 o’clock, they moved it to the west as a cat 1 impact in Naples, Fort Myers area.
This morning at five a.m., the impact was Miami. We’re still not talking about ’til next Tuesday, so it’s gonna be all over the ballpark between now and then. We don’t know where this thing is gonna hit. The models are moving it more and more out into the Gulf. I wouldn’t be surprised if this thing hits in Louisiana someplace when it’s all said and done. Just kidding. Nobody knows, but they’re desperately hoping, they’re so desperately hoping for Tampa. The media, you know, I can see Obama sending FEMA in in advance of the hurricane hitting Tampa so that the Republican convention is nothing but a bunch of tents in Tampa, a bunch of RVs and stuff. (laughing) Make it look like a disaster area before the hurricane even hits there.
OBAMA!!!!! YOU ARE OMNIPOTENT!!!!!!
And while I suppose it helps to have columnists like Tim Egan talk about “The Crackpot Caucus” within the Republican Party when it comes to science, isn’t basically the entire Republican Party a Crackpot Caucus in 2012?