Open Thread: World’s Best Reaper Edition

Post what you want, when you want. Self-link with abandon.

Some things I’ve read lately:

  1. I really enjoyed “The Prince And The Sea,” a short and lovely online comic by Emily Carroll, about a romance between a prince and a mermaid. Parents: read through to the end before showing it to your kids.
  2. The Health Care Mandate’s Big Win in the Sixth Circuit
  3. Sixth Circuit Upholds Constitutionality Of Affordable Care Act
  4. Victim of racist shooting works to save his attacker from the death penalty.
  5. Nate Silver prognosticates The Future of Same-Sex Marriage Ballot Measures. In the near future, marriage equality might win by a narrow margin in Minnesota, lose in North Carolina, and NOM’s quest to overturn marriage equality in NY seems hopeless.
  6. Former Bush official David Frum says he was wrong to oppose gay marriage.
  7. Poll: “New York State voters support 54 – 40 percent a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, with voters under 35 supporting the measure 70 – 26 percent.”
  8. Highlights of Christopher Hitchen’s best bits from an atheist versus theist debate. He is very good.
  9. In a decision that could have far-reaching effects on immigration cases involving same-sex couples, federal officials have canceled the deportation of a Venezuelan man in New Jersey who is married to an American man.”
  10. Barbara MacEwen, Religious Liberty, and Special Rights: A New York city clerk refuses to process paperwork for same-sex marriages.
  11. The 10 Scariest States to Be an Atheist
  12. Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges.
  13. No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz?is an interesting new blog; it’s a site about men’s rights that’s not anti-feminist. My favorite post so far is this one by Noah Brand, about how society constructs male and female libidos.
  14. The Obama Administration has decided to go all-out against medical marijuana, reversing it’s own 2009 memo. Despicable.
  15. The Peculiar Logic of Robbie George: A Catholic writer (who I think is anti-SSM, but not passionately against it) criticizes Robert George’s anti-SSM arguments and right-wing economic views. Obviously I have a lot of disagreements with the writer, but it’s interesting stuff, and very different from the other Robert George critiques I’ve read. Thanks to Peter H. for emailing me this link.
  16. Why one NY Senator changed his vote on SSM to “yes”: “The gay nephew of the woman he lives with, Dorothy Turano, was so furious at Mr. Kruger for opposing same-sex marriage two years ago that he had cut off contact with both of them, devastating Ms. Turano.”
  17. “If you can’t use statistical and anecdotal evidence to prove gender discrimination… then there really isn’t a law against gender discrimination at all.” Notes on the recent Wal-Mart v. Dukes Supreme Court decision.
  18. “Suppose that the New York State Senate operated according to the rules of the United States Senate and a bill failed unless it secured a 60 percent supermajority. What would people be saying about Andrew Cuomo now?”
  19. Court Blocks Anti-Choice Legislation in South Dakota
  20. A Jewish eyewitness account of the protests in Wisconsin.
  21. Male models do incredibly unhealthy things to make their muscles look photogenic.
  22. Think it’s hard for Republicans to vote for taxes now? Wait till Fox News and the Tea Party spend two months defining this as the definitional vote for both the Republican Party and its leadership. Think it’s hard for President Obama to give up revenues now? Give him two months to sell his base on the idea that it’d be immoral to make a deal that doesn’t include revenues. And the more the two sides lock into their positions, the worse the consequences will have to be before one side or the other buckles and takes a deal.”
  23. The coming explosion in heath inequality
  24. Washington State has passed a law give donor-conceived kids some rights to know about their donor parent. The donor parent can still choose to keep their identity hidden — but they have to do so affirmatively, rather than being a default.
  25. Obama Has Finally Become Dick Cheney: His administration wants to jail James Risen, a reporter who exposed Bush-era wrongdoing, if he doesn’t reveal one of his sources.
  26. “Women, Be Safe!” vs “Rapists, Don’t Rape!”
  27. Ron Paul/Barney Frank Bill Would End Federal War on Marijuana
  28. “The Liberty To Do What We Ought”: A very prominent SSM opponent displays an incredibly Orwellian idea of freedom.
  29. Yet another example of cops inventing a pretext to arrest a citizen for recording a video of cops at work.
  30. New York legislature says “I do” to same-sex marriage (big photo gallery)
  31. The true definition of “Terrorist”: “In what conceivable sense can it be called “Terrorism” for a citizen of a country to fight against foreign invading troops by attacking purely military targets?”
  32. Texting on shabbos becoming more common
  33. Is a Correlation Between Teen Sex and Divorce a Bad Thing? | Girl with Pen
  34. Apple invents technology allowing a third party to kill the video on your phone.
  35. Tax rates and economic growth in one graph
  36. Mel Gibson might be both antisemitic and not antisemitic; human brains are complex.
  37. A violent revolution isn’t likely to do much good. As usual at Crooked Timber, the disagreements in the comments are often as worth reading as the post itself.
  38. Javier Colon’s cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” is awesome:
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21 Responses to Open Thread: World’s Best Reaper Edition

  1. 1
    chingona says:

    I would strongly recommend that SebastianH read #12. That’s the logical extension of his position in the most recent abortion thread.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    A couple more perspectives on the 6th Circuit decision by a couple of law professors: The Volokh Conspiracy and Ann Althouse (although hers actually cites Ilya Somin).

    @27; I think the Tea Party movement folks will surprise you on this one by mostly (but not all, certainly) being in favor of it.

  3. 3
    chingona says:

    Interview with the creator of Foreskin Man.

    He’s not exactly brimming with nuance.

  4. 4
    Charles S says:

    I think 22 is rather silly false equivalency. Obama’s base is already sold on the ideas that (a) now is a time for further expansionary deficit spending, and (b) cutting medicaid is both stupid and evil. I don’t think Obama’s base really gives a shit whether there is a token fig leaf of tax expenditure cuts in the “Kill poor people, and kill the recovery” deal that Obama and the Republicans are working out, and I don’t think Obama gives a shit whether Obama’s base likes what he is doing. Being able to point to a demoralized base is how Obama will prove to the imaginary independents that he is a centrist.

  5. 5
    Stefan says:

    Oh, fuck, here’s my hero Richard Dawkins, shredded to pieces by Rebecca Watson

  6. 6
    RonF says:

    Here is a 33 question civic literacy exam concentrating on the Declaration of Independence and it’s history, the Constitution and the powers of the Federal government, and a little bit of history, philosophy and economics. It was taken by a little over 2500 people. The average was 49%. The average college educator (I’m not sure what that means) got 55%. The average elected official (a 164 person subset of the group taking the test) got 45%. The breakdown of how self-identified liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans did is also in there, but I’d like to see how people here (at least the American contingent) do on the exam before discussing that.

  7. 7
    Grace Annam says:

    The breakdown of how self-identified liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans did is also in there, but I’d like to see how people here (at least the American contingent) do on the exam before discussing that.

    100%. Not entirely sure on a few, but apparently I chose wisely.

    The low scores of the average American and of our elected officials depress me, and strongly suggest me that crowd-sourcing political power is a good thing; apparently you need to get a bunch of us together to have a good shot at a correct answer.


  8. 8
    Stefan says:

    I scored 78.79 %.

    *spoiler deleted*

  9. 9
    chingona says:

    93.94% (2 wrong)

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    100 percent.

  11. 11
    Jake Squid says:

    You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    “You answered 32 out of 33 correctly — 96.97 %”

    I will forever gloat over my 3.03% superiority to you.

  13. 13
    Jake Squid says:

    As well you should. I will have to live forever with the knowledge that while I didn’t know the origins of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” you did. The shame! The undying shame!

  14. 14
    RonF says:

    32/33: I got the one about what fiscal policies the government follows during a recession. What I believe I’ve seen the government actually do is different from the answer given.

  15. 15
    chingona says:

    My two were the anti-Federalists (genuinely did not know) and the one about the situation when expenditures are the same as tax revenues (considered the right answer, decided it was so obvious it couldn’t be what they were looking for and picked the wrong answer).

  16. 16
    RonF says:

    When the City of Chicago lost McDonald vs. City of Chicago and saw it’s handgun ban declared unconstitutional, it passed a new ordinance regarding handguns. It’s extremely restrictive (of course). One thing it does is a) require all handgun permit applicants to pass a proficiency course at a firing range while b) banning firing ranges (except for the cops and some private security firms) within the city limits. Very clever. So a group of individuals and organizations sued for a preliminary injunction banning enforcement of this on the basis that it violated their 2nd Amendment rights. They hold that the right to keep and bear arms encompasses the right to use them to achieve and sustain a level of competency with them (which, after all, one would think was the at least surface reason for requiring permit applicants to take range training in the first place).

    The Federal District Court for Northern Illinois turned them down. They held that the organizations (which included a manufacturer of materials and services for firing ranges) failed to establish standing. They also held that because the individual plaintiffs could travel outside the city for firing range training their 2nd Amendment rights were not being violated.

    Today the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the District Court’s decision and granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction. They held that the District Court’s decision contained numerous errors. You can read it here if you are interested.

    One of the statements that I found striking was that the fact that one can exercise a right without undue difficulty by traveling to a nearby juristiction does not mean that the juristiction can ban a Constitutional right – a concept that much of the District court’s reasoning was built on. The analogy made was that the fact that one can go to a church within a couple of miles of Chicago does not give Chicago the right to ban the building of churches within the city limits.

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    As well you should. I will have to live forever with the knowledge that while I didn’t know the origins of “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” you did. The shame! The undying shame!

    When we all go to Unitarian Heaven, Lincoln is going to want to sit with me. You’ll have to go sit at the Unpopular Kids Table with John Wilkes Booth.

  18. 18
    Ampersand says:

    I got 100%. But I flipped a coin on the “wall of separation” question.

    And like Chingona, I had to reread the taxes and spending question to be sure it wasn’t a trick question in some way.

    Something about the decision to ask so many questions about capitalism made me feel the test had a bit of a right-wing bias.

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    I’d say it definitely favors people who have done a lot of reading of conservative topics. In fairness, I’d have gotten a 100% if it favored people who have done a lot of reading of liberal topics as well, if it was as fairly-designed as this one. (IE, the questions on this one weren’t designed to ferret out liberals and make them be wrong because of their beliefs.)

  20. 20
    RonF says:

    The idea of the test was to check how well Americans of various stripes understand the principles of American civic structure as it exists. We are a capitalist country, not a socialist one. So it makes sense to ask questions about capitalism, not socialism.

  21. 21
    Elusis says:

    90.91%, 3 wrong, one of which I had right and then changed at the last minute, and one of which I read too fast and missed a word in the correct answer which caused me to reject it.