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I’m a Far Better Option than Matt Yglesias

[ 11 ] March 12, 2010 |

I, too, would proudly be willing to write 4-5 incoherent, stream of consciousness posts a week for only $80000/year.  Indeed, I’ll go a step farther; I’ll write 6-7 posts for only $75000 per year.  And then I’ll run for the Senate.   As the Great Kaus himself might note, bloggers don’t suffer from a union; my ability to undercut Yglesias is key to the proper functioning of a modern economy.


Stuff White People Like Stealing

[ 52 ] March 12, 2010 |

Considering that

  • two Jews from the Bronx, Bill Finger and Robert Kahn (Bob Kane) created Batman
  • two Jews in Cleveland, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, created Superman
  • a Jew from Washington Heights, Mortimer Weisinger, created Green Arrow and co-created Aquaman
  • another Jew from Washington Heights, Stanley Lieber (Stan Lee), teamed up with a Jew from Brooklyn, Jacob Kurtzberg (Jack Kirby), to create the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, the Hulk, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, Galactus, Doctor Doom, and Iron Man
  • a few decades earlier, a Jew from Rochester, Joseph Simon, had also partnered with Kurtzberg, and together they’d created Captain America
  • another Brooklyn Jew, William Eisner, is possibly the most important comic artist ever (dayenu); arguably invented the graphic novel (dayenu); wrote two of the most influential theoretical books about comics (dayenu); and has the award for creative achievement in the medium named after him

would it be fair to say that white people stole superheroes from the Jews the same way they’d stolen rock ‘n roll from black people?*

*Not really.  This is territory is trod plenty and well, but it’s worth rehearsing: Elvis Presley borrowed rock ‘n roll from black people, and always returned as much of it as he could promptly and with gratitude.  But he could never give it all back, because from the perspective of white America, it tainted him: anyone that the New York Times could call, as it did Elvis in 1956, a “blues shouter … imbued with the spirit and style of those Negro singers” clearly had dangerous and unsavory associations. That same year, the Chicago Defender pushed the issue of this affinity to the fore in articles like “Arrival of Elvis Presley No Puzzle to T-Bone Fans,” in which Presley’s speech was rendered in Negro dialect: “Yew-oo ain’t nuthin but a houn’ dawg,” the paper has him singing; later, he explains his style by saying “Ah’m jus’ singin’ the only way ah know how.”  Claiming, as Eric Lott did in Love and Theft, that Elvis was no better than a Nineteenth Century minstrel; or, as people generally do, that he stole rock ‘n roll from black people, misses the point: many black intellectuals, following the lead of black musicians, not only praised Elvis for respecting their tradition, they loved the fact that, via Elvis, that tradition had been embraced by the sons and daughters of die-hard Dixiecrats.  One editorial in the Defender (that I can’t relocate at the moment) was a series of winks, nods, and nudges about ceremony in Tupelo at which John Rankin, reputed to be the last white man to utter the word “nigger” in anger at a black man on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, was forced to bestow some sort of honor on Tupelo’s most famous son.**

**I’m not sure why the footnote is that much more substantial and academic than the post it qualifies, but I figure that if I can get away with it in a dissertation, I can get away with it on a blog.

[ 6 ] March 12, 2010 |

MiriamFriday Daddy Blogging… Miriam

Equal Opportunity Water-boarding

[ 8 ] March 12, 2010 |

Karl Rove defends mock drowning once again in his new memoir. After all, we do it to our own troops during training to help them learn to withstand torture. Not that it is.

A more forgiving assessment from Peter Feaver. Helpful roundup of responses from The Atlantic Wire.

We Contemplate Eternity Beneath the Vast Indifference of Heaven

[ 0 ] March 12, 2010 |

If you want a good example of the extent to which we live in an unjust world, comapre the sad fate of the first black woman to be elected to the South Carolina legislature with that of Kindly Ol’ Strom Thurmond.

More Please

[ 1 ] March 12, 2010 |

This story about reading dissents from the bench reminds me why Pamela Karlan belongs (with Diane Wood) at or near the very top of Obama’s Supreme Court shortlist:

Consider Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 decision that said there was nothing in the Constitution to stop states from making it a crime for gay men to have consensual sex at home. Justice Harry A. Blackmun had written a dissent, and he was thinking about summarizing it from the bench.

That sounded good to his law clerk, Pamela S. Karlan.

“The majority’s treatment is a disgrace,” she wrote in a memorandum to the justice that became public when his papers were released “and it’s well worth making clear to everyone what the case is really about.”

The dissent itself — which, if I understand correctly, was primarily authored by Karlan — is a very good one.

Pre 9/11 Yoosta-Bees

[ 12 ] March 12, 2010 |

You may remember that one of the most annoying guests to routinely appear on cable news during the 2000 election theft was Pat Cadell, who (following up his appearance as the creepy costume store owner in Eyes Wide Shut) showed up to relentlessly bash Al Gore but was described as a “Democratic pollster” because he took a couple polls for Jimmy Carter in 1976 or something.   Apparently, he’s still around, still being describing himself (or being described) as a Democrat, still a reactionary, and still making arguments that would need to accrue a lot more coherence to rise to the level of being “illogical.”


[ 15 ] March 12, 2010 |

What exactly does this mean?

Jakob Dylan has announced plans for an upcoming nation-wide tour with his band Jakob Dylan and Three Legs, which features Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. The tour is set to kick off April 9th in Pittsburgh, PA in support of his newest album Women and Country set for release April 6th. Prior to the release, Jakob will showcase his album in Austin at this year’s SXSW Festival, where he will be playing shows at Paste Magazine and Rachael Ray’s annual parties.

So… if I have no interest in seeing Jakob Dylan, but would really like to see Neko Case, is this something I should be wasting my precious cubits on?

Funny Because it’s Funny, Funny Because it’s True…

[ 0 ] March 12, 2010 |

The tragic return of Jay Leno, dramatized.

Making Fun of Glenn BeckTesting Video Embed Function

[ 16 ] March 11, 2010 |

Hat Tip to CNNBC.

LGM Tournament Challenge

[ 6 ] March 11, 2010 |

That time of year again. ‘Cats all the way…

League Name: Lawyers, Guns and Money
Password: zevon

Human Security Stuff I’m Too Busy To Blog About

[ 1 ] March 11, 2010 |

JEM fighters will put down their arms for the opportunity to join the Sudanese army at 500 euros a head. Perhaps this will slow conflict-related violence in the region, perhaps not. Human Security Report data from earlier this year reminded us that most of the deaths in Darfur since 2005 are from diarrhea, not violence, so question is will this new deal make it easier or harder to get aid to civilians?

Julian Ku reports that the HRC is weighing in on military commissions… and being ignored by the Obama Administration.

India has passed a law requiring 33% of parliamentary seats to be reserved for women. But why only 30%? (Finland’s quota requires parity.) Recent research on the proliferation of gender quota norms worldwide asks us to consider variation in the percentage of quotas enshrined in election laws and also the conditions under which they’re effective.

An interesting debate is happening at DoDBuzz about the US refusal to join the Cluster Munitions Treaty, about to come into force. Jason Sigger comments here.

Nigeria is conducting arrests and investigating suspects involved in last week’s ethnic violence.

On top of the notorious problem of pirate attacks on aid shipments, looks like half of the aid that reaches Somali shores gets diverted before it reaches the hungry. Don’t forget this is often the price humanitarians pay in conflict zones for access to civilians. Still, one would think the UN should at least be able to prevent its local staff from stealing it for themselves.

Brian Greenhill has a new paper in International Studies Quarterly analyzing the relationship between international organization membership and the human rights performance of states.

Sweden has approved a parliamentary resolution recognizing the mass killings of Armenians by Turkey as genocide.
Last week a Congressional Committee in the US approved a similar resolution; Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador from the US in response.

Finally, Christopher Albon reviews the advance version of DoD’s new handbook on what GIs should do when faced with – wait for it! – civvie NGO workers in complex emergencies. You can download the pre-release draft here.