Coburn, a staunch conservative, complained that the Judiciary Committee needs to operate as it did before the disputes over Bush and Obama nominees became such high-intensity partisan fights.
“I think the very issue … is what makes Americans sick of what we’re doing,” Coburn said. “It’s a tit for tat. We’ve got to get beyond that, the problems are too great for our country. What I do know is that presidents are entitled to their nominees.”
Politicalprof: The good news is: we’re not having a shooting Civil War. So score one for modern times. That said, it depends: Clinton was impeached and was alleged to have killed Vince Foster; the militia movement rose promising to fight off the government and its black helicopters planning to take us to UN-sponsored reeducation camps. (A version of that one reappeared last fall.) Bush II, of course, was largely seen as an illegitimate president by many, and there were endless depictions of him as a monkey, or as a tool of Dick Cheney’s Darth Vader. (Although, wouldn’t that make Bush II the emperor and thus using Cheney?) Bush 1 did not suffer quite this vitriol, but there was no FOX News, no internet of quite today’s scope, etc.
What distinguishes the Obama era is the degree to which the Republicans have chosen to act like a parliamentary opposition party. Their position on most issues has been “no”—a position that is facilitated by Senate rules like the filibuster and the anonymous hold that essentially empower any individual Senator to shut the process down.
The thing is, the US Congress isn’t designed to have a parliamentary opposition. Indeed, the Framers—wrongly, as it turned out—thought they had designed a system that made party organization impossible … or at least hard to sustain for very long. So there are no mechanisms by which simple majorities can override obstructionist minorities, and no mechanisms by which hopelessly frozen governments can be replaced midterm.
So while the hate and vitriol are not new in American politics (even if the internet has intensified the hate and vitriol beyond imagining), the fact that the system is essentially frozen today is a new thing that Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 simply did not have to face.
My first political memory is the Clinton impeachment. As an early 20 something, can one of you old people (PoliticalProf, KohenAri, etc.) let me know if partisanship was this bad under Bush 1 or Clinton? (via huskerred)
I’m old enough…yes it was. The Clintons murdered Vince Foster remember.
-Farmer: I do think, however, that some of our slowing mechanisms do work as intended. The static 2 party system that dominates our government causes this to break down (as indicated by politicalprof), but were there different matters on the line we may well appreciate the mechanisms that slow change. Cutting those out is a two-sided blade. I can’t say that I know of an answer other than perhaps destabilizing the hold Republicans and Democrats have on the government, making the system more fluid and functional.
WHAT soft, cherubic creatures
These gentlewomen are!
One would as soon assault a plush
Or violate a star.
Such dimity convictions,
A horror so refined
Of freckled human nature,
Of Deity ashamed,—
It’s such a common glory,
A fisherman’s degree!
Redemption, brittle lady,
Be so, ashamed of thee.
Emily Dickinson, Complete Poems, Part One: Life, CXXX, 1924 (poem is about hypocrisy)
A middle school teacher who read to his students from Ender’s Game is on “administrative leave” because a parent complained to the school that Orson Scott Card’s classic novel is “pornographic.” The parent also went to the local police, who have not yet pressed criminal charges against the teacher, according to the Aiken, SC Standard.
Top: Edward Jenner performing his initial inoculation experiments in 1796
Bottom: Typical presentation of vaccination site when successfully inoculated.
You know those shots and nasal sprays you get for vaccinations these days? Well, it wasn’t always like that. Though the practice of intentionally infecting people with Variola minor (much less fatal) to avoid Variola major goes back all the way to ancient China, Edward Jenner performed the most well-documented trials of using inoculation with Vaccinia virus (cowpox), in order to avoid later infection from smallpox.
Jenner, and many other physicians of the period, noticed that milkmaids and other farm-hands who had close contact with cows almost never became infected with smallpox during outbreaks, and hypothesized that the reason was due to the fact that they’d previously been infected by cowpox. To prove this fact, Jenner actually used his own children as guinea pigs, and inoculated them with the fluid from a cowpox sore on a milkmaid. To do this, he had to puncture the dermis with the infectious agent, and the child would contract a generally mild cowpox infection several days later.
As you can see on the lower image, the effects on the skin were not pretty, and the virus often caused substantial scarring, which can still be seen on most people who received the vaccines - just ask any relative growing up before the 1950s, and they probably still have that scar!
The method of Vaccinia virus inoculation to prevent serious smallpox infection was also much more dangerous than vaccination methods we have today. Approximately 1 in 1000 people would die from the initial methods , and approximately 1 in 75,000 people would die from the last methods used before we discontinued routine vaccination. This is because the virus was not attenuated (weakened) at first, and even when it was, you still had to have the body react as if it were infected in order to receive any immunity. It was a lot worse than the acute soreness some of today’s vaccinations give us, but it still saved thousands of lives - Variola major had a 35% mortality rate in unvaccinated people.
Top: “The Vaccination (1796)” by Gaston-Theodore Melingue, 1879.
Bottom: Pediatrics: The Hygienic and Medical Treatment of Children. Thomas Morgan Retch, 1906.
Members of the University of Southern Mississippi band chanted racist taunts at a hispanic Kansas State player during the schools’ NCAA tournament game on Thursday.
After point guard Angel Rodriguez was fouled late in the first half of the second-round game, a few band members showered the freshman with cries of “where’s your green card?”
Oh, and to top it all off:
“We deeply regret the remarks made by a few students at today’s game,” she wrote in a statement issued two hours after the game. ”The words of these individuals do not represent the sentiments of our pep band, athletic department or university. We apologize to Mr. Rodriquez (sic) and will take quick and appropriate disciplinary action against the students involved in this isolated incident.”
Rodriguez was spelled incorrectly in the original draft.
Apparently the Southern Miss band members don’t know that Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. He’d be an American citizen even if he hadn’t grown up in the continental U.S.
The Night Drug Policy Went Mainstream | The Huffington Post
Did you see the debate? A debate with a host of celebrities: Russell Brand, Sir Richard Branson; world leaders, and eminent opinion formers. Oh, and Peter Hitchens was in attendance. A debate of such magnitude would surely not creep under the radar? Especially given the gravitas of the contested subject?
Under the heading of ‘The War on Drugs Has Failed’ - and hosted by Intelligence Squared, the debate is a must watch for anyone remotely interested in societal issues. Luckily, the full video will be available to view soon. The drugs debate has never been given such a platform, and it just goes to show how ripe the discussion now is.
A poll dovetailed the whole event, and the end results: 95% of the web vote, and 64.5% of the auditorium were in favour of reform. But there was some interesting subtext to the debate.
The panel were divided into for and against reform, and yet there was a large amount of common ground between the two sides. For example, it was almost unilaterally agreed upon that incarceration for drug users was no longer just. This in itself is a heartening step forward. Seemingly, there was also a popular consensus - from both sides - that cannabis really has no place in the ‘war on drugs’. The debate as a whole was centred around hard drugs.
The full video of the debate will be available soon.