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Showing posts from August, 2012

My 'John Blake as Batman' fan fiction

I was listening to the Modern Myth Media podcast and they had a question about what they thought would happen in a fantasy continuation of The Dark Knight Rises. I had a few initial thoughts that I wanted to share.

I think John Blake (Robin) becomes Batman. He wears the same suit Bruce wears and pledges to clean up Gotham as it recovers from the events of the last two films. He works in Wayne Manor helping out the orphans. That gives him the ability to stay close to the Batcave.

From that starting point, I think there are two things Robin has to confront; cleaning up the city after Bane's destruction of it and maintaining order after the Dent Act is repealed. As part of repealing the Dent Act, all prisoners who were put in prison under the Dent Act are cleared of the crimes they were accused of committing. And the ability to prevent parole is done away with. So it's going to be more difficult to keep criminals in prison.

Those prisoners have already escaped during Bane'…

How Romney benefitted from gov't

This is kind of a follow up to my last post in which I highlighted Ta-Nehisi Coates' point that Romney has benefitted from affirmative action in a different way than conservatives are claiming Obama has. In this post I want to point you to a very specific way in which Romney benefitted from the gov't, and in a way that contradicts one of his main messages as the Republican nominee for president. Here's Matt Taibbi with the details:

But the way Romney most directly owes his success to the government is through the structure of the tax code. The entire business of leveraged buyouts wouldn't be possible without a provision in the federal code that allows companies like Bain to deduct the interest on the debt they use to acquire and loot their targets. This is the same universally beloved tax deduction you can use to write off your mortgage interest payments, so tampering with it is considered political suicide – it's been called the "third rail of tax reform."…

The myth of the affirmative action president

I've discussed the ideas of opportunity and determinism quite frequently. And I've invoked Mitt Romney as a good example of how privilege can affect a person's outcome in life. Ta-Nehisi Coates comes to similar conclusions from a different angle, specifically from the calls from conservatives that Obama is an affirmative action president:

But there's also something else -- the frame of skepticism is, as always, framed around Obama, not around Romney. No one wonders what advantages accrued to Mitt Romney, a man who spent his early life ensconced in the preserve of malignant and absolutist affirmative action that was metropolitan Detroit. Romney's Detroit (like most of the country) prohibited black people from the best jobs, the best schools, the best neighborhoods, and the best of everything else. The exclusive Detroit Golf Club, a short walk from one of Romney's childhood homes, didn't integrate until 1986. No one is skeptical of Mitt Romney because of the b…

Summing up the Republican National Convention so far

Someone would have to pay me a lot of money in order to sit through it. But I've skimmed my Twitter feed, which is full of people who were paid to sit through it, and I think I have a good idea of what was said. So as a public service to you, I give you the shorter and deconstructed overall message of the night:

Barack Obama is a bad president because he doesn't look like us and he is a Democrat. And most of the things we are claiming he has done to cover up those two reasons aren't true. If we happen to not lie and mention a problem, we are ignoring any effect we had in making that thing a problem.

In response to this great threat to our country and to the very idea of liberty, we are nominating a guy who has never in any way supported the same things Obama has. And just in case you know anything about Mitt Romney before 2008, we are nominating a VP who once voted to go to war (foreign policy experience: check) and who can put multiple numbers on a piece of paper and conv…

The Republican bubble

Rep. Steve King, he of legalize dogfighting and kidnapping/raping is legal fame, says he has never heard of a woman becoming pregnant by rape. Well of course he hasn't. That's because King, like his Republican colleagues, don't live in the same world as the rest of us. They have no conception of how people other than themselves live their lives. Given my last several posts, you can see where I'm going with this.

Republicans like King and Todd Akin only see what they grew up seeing and what they were told. Unless they have traveled and sought out information about other people and places but simply chose to ignore it, they haven't ventured outside of their own minds and their own experience. Nothing or no one has challenged their worldview. That's how Paul Ryan can get 60% of his cuts in his budget from programs from the poor. That's how they would pass a law that makes it murder to use some forms of contraception. They have no idea what it's like to be…

The GOP's women problem, and women's GOP problem

In my last post I talked about the lack of women in the GOP. Yesterday, some guy named Todd Akin made some elephant shit insane remarks about rape and abortion. I won't quote him here. It's obvious he has no answer for the issue of abortion because of rape and just made shit up to try and justify his horrible position. I'll just send you to this piece by Jamelle Bouie explaining that the policies Akin supports are that of the entire GOP.

What I didn't get to in my last post was some of the specific the consequences of the lack of women in the GOP. I think those remarks and the GOP's stance on abortion might be the biggest consequence. If you read what Akin said and his responses you see that he just has no clue about what it means to be a woman. He barely addresses the woman in his remarks. It's all about the act of rape, which he seems to not fully understand, and the child (as he puts it) that "may" result from the rape.

I pretty firmly believe th…

Where are all the women in gov't?

David Bernstein says the GOP is institutionally sexist. Here is the data that he draws that conclusion from:
Ninety percent of Republican US Senators are men. Ninety percent of Republican members of the House of Representatives are men. Ninety percent of new Republicans elected to Congress are men. Almost every leadership position among congressional Republicans is held by men.

Eighty-five percent of Republican state senators are men. Eighty-two percent of Republican state house members are men. Among new Republicans elected to state legislatures, the numbers are closer to 90 percent. Of 60 state legislative chambers under Republican majority control, just three, or five percent, have a woman speaker or president.

Of the major statewide executive elected positions -- governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and auditor -- there are a total of 14 Republican women currently holding office anywhere in the country.

In 435 congressional districts, Republicans will nominat…

Random picture of the day

I irrationally like the movie that is from, which is "10 Things I Hate About You". It's not a bad movie for what it is. It's just not the most original movie. But as you can see, it's full of good actors. Ledger is magnetic in anything he's in. And Joseph Gordon Levitt is just so damn likable.

Rick Perry invokes federalism on guns

I tweeted this link yesterday and said that I admired Rick Perry's adherence to state's rights in this instance, and also that I disagree with him regardless. Here is what he said:

PERRY: When it gets back to this issue of taking guns away from law abiding citizens and somehow know this will make our country safer, I don’t agree with that. I think most people in Texas don’t agree with that, and that is a state by state issue frankly that should be decided in the states and not again a rush to Washington, D.C. to centralize the decision making, and them to decide what is in the best interest for the citizens and the people of Florida and Texas. That’s for the people of these states to decide.
I decided to write a post on this because LGM (Lawyers,Guns,&Money) had this post today about the three immutable laws of American politics, which are:

1)Nobody cares about federalism. 2)No conservative Republican — Paul Ryan very much included — cares about the deficit. 3)Most mainstrea…

Paul Ryan is Romney's VP pick

This pick tells me Romney is concerned about his credentials with the conservative base. That makes sense. You need to get your base out to vote. You can win over every single "swing vote" in the country and still lose if you don't get enough of your base support out.

Everyone else is going to give you the electoral ramifications that follow from this pick. I'll just say that in the end this probably won't matter that much. What I wanted to focus on is what this could mean down the road if Romney were to win the election. With Ryan as VP, I think this could mean a lot for Romney's legislative output. Most of that depends obviously on the structure of the House and Senate. Republicans will control the House. But it looks like Democrats may keep the Senate.

At worst Romney will probably have to work with a Republican House to send legislation to the Senate. I think this is significant because Paul Ryan is one of the leaders in the House. His budget is what Re…

It's not 1980 or 2012, it's always 1979

Greg Sargent explains why, contrary to what the Romney campaign thinks, the 2012 election is not exactly like the 1980 election. The reasons he presents all sound correct to me. But Greg says this at the end of his post:

But it’s interesting to ask why the Romney camp is spnning this scenario. I don’t know how heavily Romney and his advisers are banking on things unfolding this way, but the fact that they are telling folks this suggests they think they need a theory of the race that explains why they aren’t yet winning.

That's only partially why they are spinning this scenario. One reason is that I think the Romney campaign actually has a bit of a grasp on the history of presidential elections. And even though the 1980 election doesn't align with this one perfectly, there are some similarities. They understand that the election will be the big driver of this election's results, just like it was in 1980.

But the big reason the Romney campaign is pointing to the 1980 electio…

Framing and the rights we prioritize

Updated again to give you some stats on what you are actually more likely to be harmed from other than a terrorist attack. Updated at the end.

I tweeted a Conor Friedersdorf post yesterday in which he tries to explain why the Sikh Temple shooting hasn't gotten the same level of cover the Aurora shooting did. I didn't post anything about it here because I thought Conor said all that needed to be said. In relation to that issue, I wanted to flag this post by Steve Coll discussing the Sikh Temple event amongst the larger issue of terrorism and violence in our country.

The Oak Creek murders reflect upon another neglected subject: the surprising pattern of terrorism in America since September 11th. In partnership with a team of researchers at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Public Policy, some of my colleagues at the New America Foundation collated and analyzed three hundred and two cases of domestic terrorism during the decade after the September 11th attacks. The numbers …

More The Dark Knight Rises thoughts

There isn't a lot of political stuff I find interesting at the moment. Rep. Steve King has shut the fuck for a few days. And I find the whole Romney/Reid tax returns thing ridiculous. So I figured I'd post some more on The Dark Knight Rises, which I've seen four times and still love.

The best critique I've heard is from people who have a problem with Nolan's directing style, which they claim is a problem across his entire career. And it manifests itself in TDKR in it being so dense with plot and cut with so many scenes that it gives the appearance of being both long and messy. Basically, they think Nolan doesn't let the camera linger enough and doesn't transition between scenes effectively. In TDKR, they think it was cut together too much and in a way that could be confusing and ineffective in driving home the themes.

As I've said, I had no problems following the plot. And I've enjoyed all of Nolan's films, both visually and plot-wise. So as a …

Rep. Steve King doubles down

This guy is unreal:

In explaining himself, King argues that animals have more rights than fetuses, and suggests that liberals have so devalued life, that a man can rape a young girl, kidnap her, force her to undergo an abortion across state lines, and then “drop her off at the swingset….and that’s not against the law in the United States of America.”
I know Republicans like King don't live in reality. But those things simply aren't legal in the reality the rest of us live in. And again, he doesn't seem to understand the idea of coercion. Leaving aside the creepy scenario he paints, I think King actually comes out looking worse here than he did with his original defense of dogfighting.

He at least admits that he has broken up a dog fight, presumably because it was at a point where it was immoral. He'll break up a dog fight, but he won't allow a woman who has been raped to make a decision about her own body and get an abortion. What a great respect for human life.