If everyone in America were to do politically what I have done, we would be in good shape. It is remarkable how little comfort that gives me. For a little bit the outpouring of jokes on this blog was a comfort, but alas that soon evaporates. I shall teach later on today. Even matter no longer holds as much attraction as it once did.
By the way, having my students watch my posted YouTube videos on Freud rather than lecturing on Freud did not work out as well as I had hoped. A caution to those of you who may try something like that.
As I might have anticipated, it took only an hour or two for the right wing conspiracy nuts to conjure up a bizarre story about Paul Pelosi and the man who attacked him.
The news is not all bad. I just learned this morning that Mark Zuckerberg's holdings in Facebook stock have lost about $78 billion lately. I am beginning to think there is a decent chance that the Democrats will pick up several seats in the Senate. If they can; against all the odds, hang on to the House perhaps I will be able to deal more successfully with my Parkinson's disease (and do not imagine these two things are unconnected!)
Does the election result in Brazil reflect well on our election?
I think Trump and the right rejoice at their fellow fascists worldwide
One can hope. There is somewhat of a a fascist international (recall the right wing confab in Florida this past February that responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine by chanting "Putin, Putin...." CPAC meets in Budapest and Orban speaks at their Dallas meeting. The neoliberal heel turn was a worldwide thing; so is the resulting fascism.
I desperately wanted to warn you against assigning your Youtube lectures to your students, but I refrained from doing so because I wanted it to succeed even though I was 99% sure it would fail. Telling students who enrolled in an in-person class - even if they're zillenials and comfortable with the internet - to watch a pre-recorded lecture is entirely antithetical to the purpose and intent of in-class instruction. The typical 2020 student will say to the professor who assigns his pre-recorded lectures - righty, in my estimation - that if they wanted their education to be a bunch of videos of hyper-educated people talking then they could get that for free on youtube without paying UNC's tuition,
Ridic, how is assigning a pre-recorded lecture as class prep different from assigning a section of a book or a journal article?
It seems it's always Halloween:
Student here. I really enjoyed watching the Youtube lectures. They were very interesting and I had the chance to take notes at my own pace. I'm not sure how class could've gone better--although I personally enjoyed the last two class sessions--but I still don't think the posted lectures in lieu of/addition to readings is a categorically bad idea.
A grand-niece of mine dressed as zombie carrying a bowl of brains. Which caused me to dredge up, from my brain, this old joke (which can be suitably adapted for your own line of work):
So, a guy goes into a butcher where brains are on special and asks for a pound of brains. "You want physicists' brains, engineers' brains or philosophers' brains?" "Well," says the guy, "how much are they?" "Physicists' brains are $12/lb., engineers' are $20/lb and philosophers' brains are $250/lb." "$250/lb!!! Why so much?"
"Do you know how many philosophers it takes to make a pound of brains?"
Of course if Mark Zuckerberg's stock in Facebook (now called Meta) has lost 78 billion dollars, a lot of small investors and people with pension funds have lost money too.
Is that good news?
By the way, I don't own any stock in Meta and I don't particularly care one or another whether Zuckerberg gets richer or poorer.
Tonight on my local PBS station they had a documentary about the North Berwick witch trials and the torture of Agnes Sampson, a female healer and midwife, in Scotland in 1591, accused of causing a sea storm intended to kill King James returning from a marriage ceremony in Denmark. The description of what a group of religious men did to her was hair-raising and depressing. They stripped her naked; shaved all the hair from her body; placed her head and arms in a stockade; and then a group of “watchers and pin prickers” pricked her body looking for signs of the devil, until she confessed to being a witch and identified several other women as witches as well. She was then put on trial, found guilty, and simultaneously hanged and burned at the stake.
What ensued was a program of witch hunting, resulting in the torture and execution of over 1,000 women. It precipitated the Salem witch hunt in Massachusetts. You can read about it here:
And these witch hunts by stupid, gullible people are still with us – QAnon; pizza-gate; the Jan. 6 insurrection; and the tweets this past week-end by Elon Musk and Ted Cruz alleging that the assault on Paul Pelosi was the result of some sexual relationship with his assailant. People are so fuckin! ignorant and stupid. And to think that the future of our democracy hangs in the balance of these people voting.
"Is that good news?"
Depends on when one got in and why one diversifies. Anyway, individuals own less then 2% of Meta and institutional holders hold the bulk of class A stock which typically constitutes a low single digit percentage of their portfolios. Seeing a tech-bro crash and burn warms the heart.
I don't really understand your logic -- if the YouTube lectures were assigned in conjunction with other things and some guidance for discussion or specific questions (for either in-class discussion or discussion via some platform like Blackboard or whatever UNC has) were posed, why couldn't it have worked?
What doesn't make a whole lot of sense, IMHO, is giving in class lectures already available online, unless one encourages interruptions with questions or otherwise encourages some discussion. But since I don't teach and have only done a bit in the past (w.o benefit of most technological aids), you can take my views w whatever grains of salt seem appropriate.
It is a bit interesting to learn how a delusional hippie (or so it appears) turned into a right-wing nut extremist in only a couple of years. The obsession with pedophilia seems something to have something to do with this shift. Has anybody observed a similar shift?
I missed the post on jokes so here is one I like: armed robbers burst into a bank, line up customers and staff against the wall, and begin to take their wallets, watches, and jewelry. Two of the bank's accountants are among those waiting to be robbed. The first accountant suddenly thrusts something in the hand of the other. The second accountant whispers, "what is this?" The first accountant whispers back, "It's the fifty bucks I owe you."
"If everyone in America were to do politically what I have done, we would be in good shape." Surely there's a bit of philosopher-king thought lurking here?
But I really wanted to ask our resident lawyer whether it might be possible for the Pelosis to sue eMusk for, say, $44,000,000,000? The point wouldn't necessarily be to win; it would be to make him miserable.
Unfortunately no joke...
Saudi company ARAMCO has made a profit of about $46 billion in the last 3 months.
This corresponds in total to approximately the volume that the poorest 90 of 196 countries in the world have in their national budgets in the same period.
In Praise of (Real) Classroom Presence
Yes, he could sue both Elon Musk and Ted Cruz for defamation, though the damages between them would not be $44 Billion – certainly a few million. Consider, e.g., Johnny Depp’s successful defamation lawsuit against Amanda Heard for a single article in the Washington Post. I suspect, however, he would be unwilling to do so, since it would appear to be politically motivated on behalf of his wife. But it would be great if he did sue, as an object lesson for creepy politicians like Cruz.
Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding a profound moral issue – the use of race by universities – in this case Harvard and the University of North Carolina - as a factor in making student admissions decisions. We all agree that basing any decision on a factor such as race – ethnicity, gender or age – is wrong, evenly morally wrong, as I have contended in prior comments. But what if using race as a factor is intended to amend for the past use of race in order to disadvantage and oppress a particular race? If it is morally wrong in the present, how could doing a moral wrong in the present to correct a moral wrong in the past be morally correct? But what if the moral wrong in the past has so disadvantaged members of that race that it continues to reverberate throughout history, keeping them disadvantaged? Does the moral wrong then become a moral right, indeed, a moral obligation? But what about the effect of correcting the past moral wrong having an adverse effect on those who were not members of the oppressed race, who now are themselves disadvantaged by the moral wrong? Do they nonetheless enjoy a privilege which compensates for that adverse effect? Was Justice Roberts correct when he stated that the way to end to discrimination based on race is to stop discriminating based on race? Is this a moral question which has no good answer?
Maybe it's a political question, not a moral question.
What steps should a society take to integrate a group which has been excluded and discriminated against?
Is that a moral obligation or is it just a way to create a more peaceful society with less hatred and resentment and violence?
In my opinion, a society with less hatred and less resentment and less violence isn't a moral goal, but a prudental one. I prefer to live in a peaceful society and so do most people.
But whichever decision the S. Ct. makes will not result in the political and social peace that you hope for. Surveys indicate that a majority of Americans are opposed to affirmative action.
Sooner or later, I believe, the U.S. is going to have to heal the wounds that come from slavery and Jim Crow. Affirmative action is only one step in that direction and many more need to be taken.
There are those who are content to live protected by security guards and walls, but I like to walk the streets, in all kinds of neighborhoods and the climate of hatred and fear between blacks and whites in the U.S. makes that difficult. I don't enjoy living among people who are resentful and fearful, who hate and fear one another.
There are lots of studies, for example, the Spirit Level, which show that societies with more ineguality have more violence, more crime, more drug problems, more mental illness and it seems that affirmative action will make the U.S. a bit more equal.
Per s. wallestein’s comments about walking in the streets of different neighborhoods, when I was an undergraduate at Rutgers (and s. wallerstein was an undergraduate at Columbia U.) I went to visit my older brother who lived on 106th St. off of Broadway in Manhattan. This was near Columbia U. and on the border of Harlem. It was, as I recall, the summer of 1967, the summer of the riots. I was taking the subway up to 106th St., but missed my stop and had to get off – in the middle of Harlem. Now, I had never been to Harlem, and all I knew about it from newspaper reports and movies was that it was a dangerous and violent place, and not safe for Caucasians to walk through – particularly Jewish Caucasians. So I got off the train, and felt lost, uncertain where to go. I just started nervously walking through Harlem, hoping I would not be noticed. Well, the neighborhood was alive with street vendors; people on stoops (N.Y. porches) talking and playing cards; music blaring from the windows. Everybody seemed to be having a good time. I walked the entire way to my brother’s apartment, without a threat of any kind being directed towards me. It was an educational experience which has informed my life.
I had the same theory myself, but one day instead of taking the subway from Columbia (116th st.), I decided to walk to my apartment at 135th st., which was in a Latino neighborhood to the west of Harlem. In order to get there I had to walk up Broadway through Harlem under the elevated trains around 125th St.
Three black guys cornered me with their hands in their pockets if as they had guns, but anyway, they were bigger than me. I gave them the money in my wallet and asked if I could keep my ID card and they said, fine and took off running.
I've been robbed three times in the U.S., every time by blacks, not to mention the black kids in junior high who if you had the bad luck to find yourself alone with one of them in the men's room, would demand your lunch money.
Sorry that you had that experience. Fortunately, it has not turned you into a bigot.
The UNC and Harvard admissions policies/practices at issue are *not* remedial in intent, i.e. the justifications have to do w the claimed educational benefits of diversity, not remediation for past discrimination. (UNC's history of exclusion in the past, as a university that was part of the Jin Crow South, did come up yesterday in the arguments, however.)
It was fairly clear, at least in the Harvard case, that the Sup Ct majority is not going to let the policy stand, though how sweeping a decision it will issue remains to be seen.
Typo correction: Jim Crow
Losing a few dollars isn't the worst thing that can happen to you.
The rationale of the need for diversity in admissions policies was substituted for quotas, which were originally employed as remedial for past discrimination, but which the S. Ct. ruled were unconstitutional.
@Susselman et al
I attended CCNY (in Harlem), class of 1969. During a subway strike I walked the 3.6 miles (Google now informs me about the distance) a few times. It was fine, even enjoyable as the morning walk coincided with several neighborhoods, including Sugar Hill, just waking up. Things were probably less fraught in the late sixties; in my Bronx neighborhood zip guns, small switchblades (both illegal) and bicycle chains comprised the gangs' armory. After one minor bloody nose I received the imprimatur of my local which gave me immunity and even a passport, as it were, through adjacent neighborhoods. I kept up my immunity via games of stickball, punchball, off-the-wall, 3box baseball and slug (aka Chinese handball). All of those played with the ubiquitous "Spaldeen". Here's my route to CCNY: subway strike walk
But were quotas that widely employed? They were at some places, not others. (They were at the med school that Bakke sued, but I'm not sure how typical that was.)
Anyway the rt-wing SCOTUS majority is done w diversity. In the arguments yesterday, Thomas claimed not to have a clue about what diversity means, an obviously disingenuous statement, given that the Court received about 100 (sic) amicus briefs in the case, in addition to the parties' own briefs.
Ah, stickball and Spaldeens! Were New York and N.J. the only places where stickball was played? And, of course, stoop ball!
I did not listen to the oral arguments. Did Justice Jackson ask any questions?
It will be interesting to see Justice Jackson’s anticipated dissent, and how she responds to J. Thomas’s anticipated majority or concurring opinion.
So there were two separate arguments. Justice Jackson asked questions in the UNC argument; she didn't participate in the Harvard argument -- she's recused herself from the Harvard case bc she previously did a stint on Harvard's Board of Overseers. The Court separated the cases mostly, I think, so that she would not have to recuse from the whole thing.
Most people are not aware that from a legal perspective, the Harvard and U. of North Carolina cases are distinctly different. The U. of North Carolina case, because the University is a public university and is bound by the 14th Amendment, is a constitutional law case. However, since Harvard is a private university, it is not bound by the U.S. Constitution; it is bound by Title VI, and is therefore a statutory interpretation case. In order for discrimination based on race to survive under the 14th Amendment, the university would have to demonstrate that it has a compelling state interest – in this case. the need to ensure diversity as an educational benefit.
A private university such as Harvard, however, can discriminate if it wishes. The penalty for such discrimination under Title VI is forfeiting the right to obtain grant money or other federal subsidies. With Harvard’s multi-million dollars endowment, it could afford to tell the federal government, we deem diversity sufficiently important to continue to discriminate. Take your federal subsidies and shove it. I don’t know if Harvard made this argument or is willing to forfeit federal subsidies, but it could afford to do so.
It's not willing to forfeit federal grants for scientific etc projects. I'm guessing the School of Public Health and Med School alone must have significant, say, NIH grants, like some other big research univs. Endowment btw is multibillion (not multi million).
Can't comment further rt now.
One p.s. Harvard's legal position is that it does not discriminate as that word is defined in the relevant analysis, and the lower cts agreed w that.
Can anyone explain to me how can a person like J. D. Vance, a summa cum laude graduate of Ohio State University; a graduate of Yale University Law School; and the author of “Hillbilly Elegy” be an avid supporter of Trump? Does he really believe Trump’s lies? He is obviously not stupid. Is it just political ambition? But with his credentials he could have run as a Democrat and been successful. I don’t get it. Probably never will.
Post-script: Wonder what Glen Close, who played his grandmother in the Netflix production of Hillbilly Elegy thinks of him. Maybe she should take a switch to his behind.
I'm not sure that anyone believes all Trump's lies. I don't think that the political attractiveness of Trump has to do with people perceiving him as honest.
Marc, I assume you got off at 125th which reminded me of this (I know, other side but still):
s.w. crime can happen anywhere. In the mid-1960s I lived a few blocks north of the Sunset Strip near the Beverly Hills line. One night I went out for a walk and saw a figure weaving and stumbling towards me. Turned out to be a Black dude who had been drugged and rolled. Being Black in that neighborhood was somewhat life threatening so I drove him home to South Central. Had an experience similar to yours in Bangkok in the 1980s that I managed to deflect peacefully. Sometimes life is a lottery no matter where
Anyway, people don't vote for Trump because they believe he's truthful, but because they believe their way of life (which they call "America" as in "Make America Great Again") is threatened by people like you, me, Professor Wolff, Nancy Pelosi, AOC and Michelle Obama, and Trump is the first major political figure who seems to be against all the things they fear and hence, are against.
They're frightened, and as someone said, nothing scares me so much as scared people.
I've read Hillbilly Elegy, albeit quite a while ago. The personal story is in some respects compelling but the politics are not good. Vance's conversion from non-Trumpist Repub to Trumpist was a matter of opportunism, I'd surmise.
I don’t disagree with you about most voters who support Trump. But my question was about J. D. Vance, who is not your typical voter or citizen. He is very bright. He came from a very humble background and a very dysfunctional family, which he describes in his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy.” He understands the people he grew up with who support Trump, but he succeeded in making it out, attending a prestigious Ivy League Law School – he must know that Trump is a charlatan, taking advantage of the kinds of people he grew up with. So why is he supporting Trump??? That is what I do not understand. Given his background, he did not strike me as a typical self-interested opportunist.
Yes, 125th St. sounds about right. That means I walked a total of 19 long blocks to my brother’s apartment – in a state of total apprehension and perspiration.
The Velvet Underground – perfect.
How about Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers? He's a graduate of Yale Law School.
How about the person -- whose name is escaping me at the moment -- whom Trump wanted to appoint as A.G. at the very end (i.e., Jan. 2021)? Graduate of Harvard College and Georgetown Law.
Just bc Vance went to Yale Law School does not in itself mean that he can't have bad politics -- as I said, the politics in Hillbilly Elegy are bad (sorry for the shorthand, I'm recovering from a dental procedure today).
Vance probably knows that Trump is a charlatan, but who knows? He wants to be a Senator, so he took Trump's endorsement. Recall that Vance worked for Peter Thiel, the rt-wing libertarian billionaire hedge fund venture capital type who made his money from PayPal (which he founded or co-founded). The guy running for Senate in AZ as a Repub, Blake Masters, also worked for Thiel. These people went to prestigious schools, but that in itself doesn't mean they can't have bad politics, because:
News Flash -- plenty of people who went to prestigious schools have terrible politics.
You can make a list starting, say, w/ Wm. F. Buckley and go from there.
@LFC Yeah, this reminds me of that trope where the NYTimes, everytime some rightist came to power in Latin America, would prepend the admiring adjective "Harvard educated".
I understand that a college degree from an Ivy League college is of course no indication of one’s personal values. But there is more to Vance than just his Ivy League law degree. I don’t see where his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” is a tribute to bad politics. The Washington Post named him “the voice of the Rust Belt.” The memoir celebrates hard work, family loyalty and tough love. Where is the bad politics? Surely he knows that Trump has done nothing to help the rural folks he grew up with. Unless he himself is a total fraud (which I suppose is possible), I still don’t understand how the author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” which explain why rural folk found Trump appealing, would be taken in by him.
I read Hillbilly Elegy rather quickly and a long time ago -- happened to find a library copy that hadn't been checked out -- and this was when there was still a lot of buzz around the book. So I checked out the library copy, later found a used pb copy for a couple of bucks, have since given it away.
With that as preface, here, in a nutshell, is the 'bad politics.' He blames the people he grew up with for much of their own plight. They buy swimming pools and big screen TVs they can't afford, they go into debt etc. He acknowledges that a big corporation decamped and left the one-company town (whose name I don't remember) high and dry, but there is no sufficient recognition on his part of the structural causes of the ec distress that afflicts the geographic and socio-economic places he grew up in.
The book is basically a 19th century quasi Social Darwinist hymn to individual initiative. The subtext is: "I made a success of myself through hard work and determination, so why can't they?" The politics are economic libertarianism (or something close to it) mixed w laissez-faire. The political and economic analysis, in its essence, and to the extent there is any, is something one might have found in a mid 19th century 'bourgeois economist'. I'm exaggerating a little, but not very much.
I'm tired, so though I could go on for a while, I won't. Suffice to say I found the politics of the book repellent. It refuses to recognize that the government (or the state) plays any positive role in the collective life of the society. In a book partly set in Appalachia, is there a single positive word about the TVA, just to take one example? (I doubt it, though I don't recall for sure.) How about rural electrification? Vance's ancestors would still be sitting in the f****** dark w candles if the govt hadn't pushed that. What about offshoring and deindustrialization? The book talks about the one-company town ravaged by the forces of neoliberal globalization (a phrase he doesn't use) and corporate indifference (not to mention outright greed), but doesn't draw the fairly obvious inferences.
Parts of his personal story (service in the military, hard work, going through college in three years [I think it was], etc.) are admirable, but the politics, sometimes evident, sometimes just below the surface, are, as I said, not anything I could agree with.
Hillbilly Elegy makes abundantly, perfectly clear that Vance could never have been even a moderate Democrat, let alone a 'progressive' one. The only question was: was he going to be a John Kasich-style Republican, a Peter Thiel-style [whatever Thiel is], a Paul Ryan Republican, a Mitch McConnell Republican -- all of which would be bad enough, heaven knows -- or a Trump Republican?
I'll leave it at that.
P.s. I think he's probably basically a Paul Ryan Republican (recall Ryan's fairly repulsive talk in the 2012 campaign about "makers" and "takers"; Ryan apparently has since dropped this language but not, I think, the message behind it).
As to why exactly Vance decided to throw in w Trump, I don't know for sure. But it was not shocking to me.
... Today I saw a documentary about the USA before the midterms, in which, among other things, the Oath Keepers in Arizona were reported. In it, the editor-in-chief of the 'Patriots Free Press' demanded in front of running cameras that an example had to be made of the Clintons by cutting off their heads.
I'm sure that even ultra-right Nazis wouldn't say something like that directly into the camera here.
Thank you for your explication of what you regard as Vance’s politics.
It reminds me of the difference between Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon. Both grew up in relative poverty, Humphrey in rural Minnesota; Nixon in rural California. Humphrey’s poverty influenced him to grow up with a magnanimous, charitable character; Nixon’s poverty made him bitter and resentful.
Here’s another one of my movie recommendations. Last night my wife and I watched a fascinating movie, with one of the most creative scripts I have seen in a very long time. The movie is a fantasy, titled “Nine Days.” It opens up enigmatically. A man is in a room with a bank of multiple TV screens which appear to be showing the lives of different people in real time. The protagonist, whose name is Will, is taping what is occurring, removes the tapes from time to time, labels them, and places them in various filing cabinets. What is going on here? Does he work for a security service? Is he part of a government surveillance program? He shows a special interest in one of the people on screen, a woman named Amanda who is a professional violinist. A friend shows up at his house with some groceries, indicating he is there to watch Amanda perform a violin recital at a concert hall. As they are watching, we see someone open a trunk of a vehicle. Then the vehicle is moving, and suddenly it speeds up and crashes. The tape ends. Will and his friend are shocked. What happened? Did Amanda commit suicide?
After Amanda’s death, various people show up at Will’s home, which is in the middle of a desert. Will questions each of the guests about how they would react to various life scenarios, e.g,, you are a prisoner in a concentration camp. Your 11-year old son was caught trying to escape and a sadistic camp commandant has placed your son on a chair with a noose around his neck. The commandant orders you to kick the chair out from under your son. If you refuse, the commandant will kill your son and all of the other prisoners. What do you do? The guests are competing with one another over a nine-day period. What are they competing for?
The plot is ultimately about life, and whether it is worth living, given all of the misery, murders, wars, pain and suffering that people experience. The film ends with a poignant scene that left my wife and me tearful. The film is available on Hulu. I highly recommend watching it, given the traumatic times we are living through.
^Your second paragraph reminds me of Bernard Williams's "integrity objection" to utilitarianism. In Ethics 101, or whatever course it was that assigned Williams's argument with J.J.C. Smart, I remember being impressed by the point that utilitarianism (applied to the scenario you describe) would indeed require the parent/prisoner to kick out the chair - granting that this minimized collective unhappiness. If you sympathize with Williams, then this might as well be a refutation of utilitarianism; at minimum, it obliges the utilitarian to say something implausible to the parent/prisoner as to why their qualms with kicking the chair are misplaced.
In general, when someone puts forward a thought experiment where a villain threatens an unwitting bystander, "Unless you do this super-heinous thing, I will do this super-super-heinous thing," I think it's justified for the bystander not to comply, as the responsibility for the misdeed accrues more directly to the villain. (Of course it'd be understandable, and reasonable - maybe even a sign of basic ethical sanity - for the bystander to regret the consequences when the villain goes on to perform the misdeed, and even to be haunted by the doubt that non-compliance was justified in the first place.)
I think that'd be the verdict of the most people's moral consciousness; not sure how it'd look from the standpoint of legality. (And I'm not sure if it's the correct verdict!)
On-topic: I am increasingly dreading the outcome of the election. I haven't been following terribly closely, just peeking at some forecasts and such... But I have a bad feeling.
One way to make waiting for election results less intolerable, in my experience, is to bet on them. That turns it into a game and people's competitiveness begins to trump their political anxieties.
Some people take politics too seriously to turn it into game, others don't.
I don't live in the U.S. and don't follow U.S. politics all that closely, but for those who want to bet, I could keep track of people's wagers.
Since some people operate here with aliases or as anonymous, there's no point of betting real money, but the urge to win, especially when there are spectators, as is the case here, is generally enough to motivate betting.
Regardless which choice the father made, under the law the commandant would be legally (and criminally) liable, not the father.
If you have access to Hulu, or if your local library has movie DVDs (which is where I obtained my copy of "Nine Days") I urge you to watch the movie. I believe you will find it interesting on both a cognitive and emotional level.
s.w. we are on the cusp of a more or less Pinochet moment in the US so sort of serious and not a game.
Vance recently converted to Roman Catholicism and, based on some statements, is in a more Catholic then the Pope phase (an aunt converted back in the day so it happens). He's friends with the fascist fan boy Rod Dreher and strikes me as a running dog for for our aspiring fascist overlords. One view of his I found especially ominous is his opposition to higher education as a requirement for military officers.
Vance's patron, Peter Thiel, is buds with the neo-reactionary Curtis Yarvin who blogged as "Mencius Moldbug." This is pitch perfect:
Trump, who styles himself as a developer, " repeated the unfounded idea that a window in the Pelosi home was “broken from the inside to the out. It wasn’t a break-in, it was a break-out.” (Rolling Stone)
Guess he doesn't know that the code requires safety glass on doors and large windows and a high end home in a climate like San Francisco has is going to be at least double and possibly triple glazed.
A game isn't necessarily fun.
Turning something into a game is a way of taking a step back from one's anxieties, if possible and viewing it as coldly and as rationally as possible. One can do (and I myself do) on my way to the doctor, nervous that I have cancer having looked at my symptoms in internet too much.
However, I'm not going to count you as a possible participant in the betting process (although I suspect that you'd prove a sharper political analyist than several regular commenters here).
Outside the Box.
Here is an excerpt from a Dana Milbank/Washington Post article about--pet grooming.
"What does Paul Pelosi have to do with the placement of litter boxes in public-school bathrooms? The truth might make your tail twitch.
"Last week in North Hampton, N.H., the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Don Bolduc, gave his supporters some hair-raising information.
" ‘Guess what? We have furries and fuzzies in classrooms,’ Bolduc informed them, according to audio obtained by CNN. ‘They lick themselves, they’re cats. When they don’t like something, they hiss.’ A hissing sound could be heard in the room. ‘And get this,’ he went on. ‘They’re putting litter boxes, right? Litter boxes for that.’
“’I wish I was making it up,’ the GOP nominee said.
"Bolduc was making it up. He was repeating an absurd online conspiracy [so, technically, he wasn’t making it up—he was saying that he believed this], endlessly debunked, that public schools are accommodating kids who identify as cats by providing them with litter boxes as toilet alternatives. No amount of discrediting prevents it from being asserted as fact by, among others, Republican gubernatorial nominees Scott Jensen of Minnesota and Heidi Ganahl of Colorado, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and right-wing influencer Joe Rogan."
Purrfect. Four legs good, two legs bad.
One view of his I found especially ominous is his opposition to higher education as a requirement for military officers
aaall, you know more about the military (or such is my sense) than I do, but I'm not sure why this is so troubling. Anyway, the U.S. military is (again, such is my sense) sufficiently set in certain of its ways that this requirement, assuming it indeed is one, is prob not going to change.
I always thought, perhaps wrongly, that there are, broadly speaking, two ways of getting to be an officer in the US military. One is through the service academies and/or ROTC; the other is by rising through the enlisted ranks. The second wd not seem to require degree(s). Is this wrong? (I'm aware that once one becomes an officer, one is often sent to one of the military's own schools (e.g. Natl Defense Univ., Naval War College etc.), but that's a different point.
In order to bet intelligently, one wd have to look at or study the latest poll results in a bunch of races, which I don't want to do.
But Biden's going on natl TV tonight (or so I gather) may be a sign that he feels he needs to energize the Dem base (or so claimed an NPR report I happened to hear earlier). If so, that's prob not a good sign.
Michael S. Winters at the Natl Catholic Reporter:
"J.D. Vance gives Catholicism a bad name"
opens by comparing Vance to Charles Maurras (the early-20th-cent French quasi-fascist)
whoops, didn't mean to post under my full name there.
The perils of haste...
Me oh my. I just read Ron Desantis’s biography on Wikipedia. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale, majoring in history; and then graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School. And he signed the abortion law in Florida which bans abortions after 15 weeks, even in the case of rape or incest. Apparently, education and good grades are not evidence of a human soul.
LFC, enlisted with the chops can be promoted to warrant officer but enlisted aspiring to be commissioned officers need to be accepted to OCS and need to have a bachelors by the time they graduate OCS. It's common for senior NCOs to have a degree or at least serious college credits.
It's a reasonable assumption that folks not able to pull it together to get a BA aren't going to be able to handle the ongoing educational requirements that go with advancing in rank and responsibility as well as the skill sets necessary to make a modern military work. The senior military institutions are graduate level.
My brother did major logistics in Vietnam and taught at the university level after retirement. Coordinating hundreds of millions of dollars of arms and supplies over tens of thousands of miles is graduate level stuff.
As Ukraine demonstrates, line 'em up and charge is not the way to do war and 152s wear out without maintance. Prior to the Russian collapse our aspiring fascist overlords loved to point out how poorly "woke" Western militaries would perform next to the manly man Russian Army. I see Putin just caved to the Turks.
"Purrfect. Four legs good, two legs bad."
FP, I agree but have you considered the birds?
Thanks for the clarification.
Just saw this:
Love the body language.
You are all seeing what I'm seeing. Things don't look good, and the viability of democracy hangs in the balance. Well, the people get what they vote, and don't vote, for. Apparently, higher costs are more important than whether fascism takes over and a woman has a right to control her own body.
It took our generation 70 years to realize the facts of life about human nature that our parent's generation, having lived through the depression and World War 2, was aware of
by the time they reached age 30, if not earlier.
Yes, I know. That's why my parents were always pessimists.
As sort of a reality check, I re-watched the movie “A Civil Action” last night, about an actual trial in which the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jan Schlictman (played by John Travolta), represented a number of families in Woburn, Massachusetts, whose children were dying of lukemia. They suspected that their water supply was contaminated by toxic chemicals being dumped by two nearby businesses, a chemical company owned by W. R. Grace, and a tannery, owned by Beatrice Foods. Beatrice Foods was defended by Jerome Facher (portrayed by Robert Duvall). From a defense standpoint, Facher pulled a brilliant strategic move that resulted in the tannery being found not liable. Schlictman did not have sufficient evidence to prove that the tannery had dumped toxic chemicals into a nearby river, contaminating the aquifer. Facher realized, however, that if the parents of the children who died were allowed to testify, the sympathy of the jury would compensate for the lack of evidence – they would conclude that a large corporation should pay, regardless the proofs. So Facher moved to bifurcate the trial. Usually, in a civil case, the plaintiff’s attorney first puts in the evidence to prove the defendant’s liability, and then puts in the evidence regarding damages, using the victims’ testimony. Facher moved to bifurcate the trial, convincing the judge that there was no point putting the parents through the agony of a trial if the plaintiffs had failed to prove liablitly. The judge agreed, and barred Schlictman from putting in his proofs on damages until the jury had decided liability. The jury did not get to hear the parents testify about their pain and suffering from losing their children to lukemia. The jury split on liability, finding Grace liable, and Beatrice Foods not liable. Schlichtman was then forced to settle with Grace for short money ($8 million), because his law firm was so deeply in debt from the litigation costs (over $3 million), that it could not continue the litigation. After the lawsuit, Schlictman (who is still practicing law in Boston) declared bankruptcy. Facher, who taught law at Harvard, passed away in 2019, at the age of 93.
How was this a reality check? Towards the end of the movie, while he and Facher are waiting for the jury verdict on liability, Schlictman rejects a settlement offer from Facher of $20 million. Facher says to Schlictman, “If you are looking for the truth, you are not going to find it in a courtroom. The truth lies at the bottom of a bottomless pit.”
After W. R. Grace is found liable by the jury, Schlictman meets with Grace’s new attorney, played by Sydney Pollack, to discuss settlement. They meet at the Harvard Club. Schlictman is a few minutes late, and explains to Pollack that he got lost. Schlictman says this is the first time he has been on the Harvard campus. Pollack is surprised, assuming that Schlictman was a Harvard alumnus. Schlictman demurs, explaining that he attended Cornell Law School. Pollack then asks Schlictman (Travolta), “What do you want?” Travolta reaches into his jacket pocket, takes out a sheaf of papers, and says “It’s all explained here.” Pollack becomes indignant, and says, “Jan, we never discuss business in the Harvard Club. I meant, what do you want to drink.”
I've seen that movie, though I don't remember it particularly well. I do remember that scene you reference in the comment just above.
Point of trivia correction: iirc, they meet at the Harvard Club in New York. (There is nothing called the Harvard Club on the Harvard campus. [There's, among other things, the Faculty Club, but that's different.])
I stand corrected. You are right. I just looked at the scene again. Schlictmann (I have been misspelling his last name) and his partners check into a Manhattan hotel the night before the meeting, at $2,200 a night. At the meeting, Pollack scolds Schlictmann, “It is an unwritten rule at the Harvard Club that business is not transacted here.” They later retire to Pollack’s law office where Pollack puts his feet up on an antique table. Schlictmann resists putting his feet up on the table, and Pollack insists that he put his feet up on the table. Pollack then offers to settle the lawsuit against W. E. Grace (a company I have named as a defendant in several lawsuits involving asbestos exposure) for $8 million. Schlictmann turns him down, to the anger and astonishment of his partners, who are present at the meeting. Later, after returning to Boston and his partners have deserted him, as his law office is being dismantled, he calls Pollack on the telephone and accepts the settlement offer, which will pay off the firm’s debts and result in a net payment to the plaintiffs of $375,000 per family, with no profit left over for the partners. The lead plaintiff is angry at Schlictmann, because he had promised that any settlement would include a requirement that Grace remediate the contamination site.
I have actually been in the Harvard Club in Manhattan, although I am not an alumnus. In 2003, my law firm was representing the Vice President of Detroit Edison in a wrongful termination lawsuit. One of the depositions of an officer of another major energy company was scheduled to take place in a conference room in the Harvard Club, since the attorney representing this other energy company was a Harvard graduate and a member of the club. I flew into Manhattan that morning for the deposition, and flew back to Detroit that evening. It was a quite an impressive place. I have not been back since.
I just made another contribution to the DNC, which has been deluging me with emails. Not hopeful that it will actually affect the outcome, but at least my conscience will not plague me that I did not try.
To the best of my recollection, I have never been in the Harvard Club in Manhattan, though at this point in my life my recollection is not flawless. (The fees to join are, I think, somewhat hefty, and I wd not pay them (even if I lived in NY, which I don't). A lot of members are probably able to deduct the fees as a business expense. Frankly in some ways It's all kind of gross.) The two big Harvard Clubs are in NY and Boston. Many other cities and regions have them but not, generally, w the fancy, expensive buildings.
Out of curiosity, I Googled how many S. Ct. Justices graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. The answer is three: Justices Sutherland, Murphy and Rufus Day.
Harvard holds the record at 22; with Yale second, at 11. Rutgers, my undergraduate alma mater, had one, Joseph Bradley. On the current court, 4 Justices are Harvard graduates (Roberts, Kagan, Gorsuch and Jackson); 4 are Yale graduates (Alito, Kavanaugh, Sotomayor, and Thomas). J. Barrett is a graduate of Notre Dame Law School. Curiously, there have been no graduates of Cornell Law School. (Columbia has had 7; Stanford has had 2; Dartmouth, 1)
And of course at least a few Justices in the modern era did not go to fancy or prestigious law schools. Hugo Black and Warren Burger are two that come to mind.
Today, I have received emails from the following individuals pleading for me to make a contribution to the DNC.
Joe Biden emailed.
Kamala Harris emailed.
Bill Clinton emailed.
Hillary Clinton emailed.
Al Gore emailed.
Adam Schiff emailed.
Jamie Raskin emailed.
Amy Klobuchar emailed.
Barbra Streisand emailed.
Mary Trump emailed.
I have succumbed to their supplications, but none of them has invited me to dinner.
Correct. Hugo Black (who was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan, but became a very liberal Justice) graduated form the University of Alabama Law School; J. Burger graduated from St. Paul College of Law. One of my favorite Justices, Justice Robert Jackson (who was the lead prosecutor for the Allies at the Nuremburg trials) graduated from Albany Law School. One real surprise was John Marshall Harlan (refereed to as the First Justice Harlan and as the Great Dissenter - he dissented from Plessy v. Ferguson) graduated from Transylvania University School of Law (!!); his son, John Marshall Harlan II (referred to as the Second Justice Harlan) graduated from New York School of Law.
I checked. There actually is a Transylvania University located in the United States, not Romania. It was the first university to be established in Kentucky, in 1780. Jefferson Davis was a graduate. It still exists. Great Jeopardy question.
"Today, I have received emails..."
Is that all? I've gotten 23 and it's just noon.
BTW, s.w. hope the medical thing is a false alarm. In the past few years I've had signs of myloma and lung cancer (nodes/ancient asbestos exposure) not pan out. Also two cancers that were cured, so there's that.
Thanks for your concern. Always, in my case, false alarms, due to spending too much time looking for the symptoms in internet.
I'm glad to hear that your cancers were cured. Be well....
A day or two ago, Gail Collins had an article in the NYTs in which she related a recent episode of Trump’s trying to steal the limelight from the rebarbative Republican Ohio senate candidate at a campaign rally. Here’s what Collins wrote.
“And then there’s J.D. Vance, who Trump is backing in the Ohio Senate race. The former president showed up for a Vance rally last month in Youngstown, standing right next to the contender, who, he told the crowd, ‘is kissing my ass, he wants my support so much.’”
[Trump has a way with words. At least he didn’t use the word “literally” in his comments.]
I have a question for the readers and commenters on Prof. Wolff’s blog.
Michigan has a statute titled “The Michigan Court of Claims Act.” The statute applies to any lawsuit which is filed against the State of Michigan, or any of its sub-divisions, which includes its Departments and any State University, e.g., Michigan State University, University of Michigan, etc. Under the statute, any lawsuit which names the State or any of its sub-divisions must be filed in the Court of Claims. The Court of Claims has certain peculiarities compared other state courts: first, the plaintiff is not entitled to a jury trial in the Court of Claims – all cases are decided only by a judge. The second peculiarity is this – all of the judges who sit on the Court of Claims are concurrently judges on the Michigan Court of Appeals. Now, if the plaintiff loses in the Court of Claims, the plaintiff has a right of Appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, and the case will be reviewed by a three-judge panel on the Court of Appeals, not including the trial judge, who also is a judge on the Court of Appeals. So, in the appeal, the three judges siting on the appellate panel are all colleagues of the trial court judge who presided over the trial. Who thinks that such an arrangement allows for a presumption of bias of the three-judge panel in favor of the adverse decision by the trial judge, and against the plaintiff? (This arrangement is unique among the states. While other states also have special courts to decide lawsuits against the State, their court of claims is a separate court from their appellate courts, and judges do not sit on both courts.)
Looks rather incestuous to me, possibly a violation of the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.
I agree with you. That’s why I have filed a lawsuit in federal court requesting that the court declare the statute is unconstitutional for violating due process. Interesting that you used the word “incestuous,” because the Attorney General of Michigan (who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit) is arguing that since some federal decisions have held that even a familial relationship between a judge and an attorney involved in the lawsuit does not violate due process, the statute which involves judicial colleagues cannot violate due process. I am also arguing that the disparity between which plaintiffs are entitled to a jury trial, and which are not, violates the Equal Protection Clause. Oral argument on the lawsuit is scheduled for Jan. 6, 2023. It should be interesting.
In the two cases which are at issue, it was the Chief Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals who presided over both lawsuits in the Court of Claims and dismissed the lawsuits. On appeal, the two appellate panels are being asked to rule that their chief judge made erroneous rulings below. What is the likelihood that the Chief Judge’s colleagues will rule that she made errors of law? The cards are stacked against my clients from the get go.
What's the rationale for allowing a judge to preside in a case in which a relative is an attorney?
I agree, it would seem to be a patent violation of due process, but not according to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. In Railey v. Webb, 540 F.3d 393 (6th Cir. 2008), the Court rejected the defendant’s argument that his due process rights were violated when the Kentucky circuit court judge who presided over his sentencing was the nephew of the prosecutor. The Court made some distinction between the appearance of impropriety which would require a judge to recuse himself, and a familial relationship which would not violate due process. I don’t see the distinction myself.
How am I passing the time as we await the election results? By researching arcane trivia questions, like which country holds the record for the most Nobel Prizes for literature? United States? United Kingdom? No. France, at 16 U.S. and U.K. are runners-up, at 11 apiece.
Can you name an author who (whom?) you believe deserved the award, but did not receive it? Many people would name Philip Roth, or J. D. Salinger. My choice? Nikos Kazantzakis, who was nominated 14 times, but never won. Why? Because his own country was opposed to his receiving the award. He was labeled a communist, an atheist, and a debaucher of young people by the Greek church and government. Two other Greek writers have been awarded the prize – George Seferis (1963); Odysseas Elytis (1979).
100 men have been awarded the prize, while 14 women have won the award.
Jean-Paul Sartre rejected the award in 1964.
Boris Pasternak also rejected the award in 1958, under pressure from the Communist Party.
The data I cited regarding total awards were from a 2017 article, the year that British writer Kazuo Ishiguro (born in Japan) won. Since then, France, U.S. and U.K. have each won one additional prize, bringing the totals to 17; 12; and 12.
Should have won the Nobel Prize but didn't:
Instead of "should have" received Nobel in literature but did not, I would propose the slightly different category "prize would not have been unmerited." In that category I'd put -- definitely *not* an exhaustive list -- Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Iris Murdoch, and (maybe) Richard Wright.
Off the top of my head--Should have been winners of the Nobel Prize : James Joyce, Bertolt Brecht, Gertrude Stein (although she thought that Hitler deserved it), Wallace Stevens, André Breton, René Char, Raymond Chandler (think about it!)
John Rapko, LFC
Gertrude Stein thought Hitler deserved the Nobel Prize for Mein Kampf? Really? Raymond Chandler is an interesting choice. He certainly had a unique writing style. I’d select Dashiell Hammett over Chandler, however.
LFC, thank you for your suggested rewording and choice of candidates.
According to this article, quite a few modernist writers of the early 20th century were sympathetic to fascist and authoritarian regimes, including Stein, Pound, Eliot and Yeats (!).
Yes -- Pound was the most extreme case of those listed.
On the perennial Hammett vs. Chandler debate: I listened to many such debates in the 20th century, and participated in a few this century. Alas, I don't understand how could consider Hammett greater than Chandler, but it's not something worth disputing. It seems to me that Hammett is a very great genre writer, while Chandler is even greater and perhaps also transcends the genre (very much worth considering on this imponderable question is Chandler's phenomenal essay 'The Simple Art of Murder', wherein he notes that if the genre permits a work as great as The Maltese Falcon, it might permit something greater). Alasdair MacIntyre was once asked what non-philosophical writing he read; he replied with Philip K. Dick and Chandler, and noted that perhaps they were also philosophical. In his last interview Mike Davis said that he hated Chandler because (?) there's an overtly racist (???) scene in every novel, but also that he'd read them all ten times.--And one more obvious choice for the list of deserving Nobel non-winners: Anna Akhmatova.
"...were sympathetic to fascist..."
Of course, Dashiell Hammett (and Lillian Hellman) were Stalinists. The shelves would be somewhat bare if we judged literature based on the politics of the writers.
slight temporary change of topic:
I hadn't posted a review of a book on Amazon in a long time. It used to be that anyone cd go on the site and post a review of anything. Just now I discovered (or maybe I knew but had forgotten) that their rule is one has to have spent at least $50 on Amazon in the past year to post a review. I apparently hadn't met this threshold and was thus "ineligible" to write a review. I think this is kind of crass. Yes, Amazon is in business to make money, but one wd think a certain public-spiritedness (if the company had any) would point in favor of letting anyone post a review who wants to.
Well, that's a thought, but I'm not sure I want to hijack the thread, so to speak, to that extent.
It was Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works (Random House, 2018). Short and readable, with some good insights. (That's the ultra-brief version.)
And it already has a lot of reviews on Amazon, so it's not like another one is going to matter that much...
He draws illustrations from the '30s and surrounding decades, and also the contemp. world, esp U.S. Not afraid to mention Nazism and Trumpism in the same paragraph. In that respect his sensibility is probably rather close to yours, Marc.
The thread has already been hijacked, so don't worry about taking it a few more miles down the road.
It would be great to read your full-length version. I've listened to Stanley talk about the book.
Ok, the full-length version is not that long. I'll post it either later tonight or tomorrow.
(I returned the book to my local library this evening. Probably shd have hung on to it a while longer, but whatever.)
If the author agrees with my perspective, it must be an outstanding work.
Capsule review of J. Stanley, How Fascism Works
In this short book, Jason Stanley, who is trained as an analytic philosopher and is a professor of philosophy at Yale, analyzes how far-right politicians use rhetorical and other strategies to whip up hypernationalism and xenophobia, exploiting the resentment of their followers against so-called liberal elites and diverting their attention from the actual sources of their discontent, notably economic inequality. Stanley’s illustrations are drawn mostly from the 1930s (and immediately surrounding decades) and the contemporary world, with an emphasis on the U.S., Hungary, and, to a lesser extent, Poland and Turkey. He points out that “fascist politics attacks the rule of law in the name of anticorruption” (p. 28), while deploying the rhetoric of “law and order” to stigmatize and dehumanize those whom it labels criminal, irrespective of what sorts of conduct (e.g., victimless) they may have engaged in. He discusses mass incarceration in the U.S. in this connection.
Stanley emphasizes that far-right politics glorifies hierarchy in both the economic and political realms, as well as holding out a nation’s mythic past as a pure ideal that must be restored. Economic libertarianism, which equates freedom with "the free market,” is “the Manhattan dinner party face of social Darwinism.” (p.179) At the end he defends his use of the word “fascism” in the contemporary U.S. context, writing that behavior and views once considered extreme have become normalized and that “normalization of fascist ideology, by definition, would make charges of ‘fascism’ seem like an overreaction, even in societies whose norms are transforming along these worrisome lines.” (p. 190) The key word here is “transforming”: the erosion of democracy and rise of authoritarian tendencies is a process, not a single event. Stanley points out that his personal history -- both of his Jewish parents escaped from Europe in the WW2 period -- has seeded his interest in this topic. How Fascism Works is a readable guide to some of the characteristic features and techniques of far-right politicians and their enablers, and is insightful on how language is harnessed to the aims of myth-making and the obscuring of facts.
p.s. The above does not cover all themes in the book (for instance, I didn't say anything about the chapter on the use of "sexual anxiety" by fascist politics). Hence my labeling it a capsule review, not a full review.
Does Stanley explore the social, cultural, economic and psychological factors which led people to elect and support Trump?
All of which are very different from the factors which led to Hitler's rise to power.
I understand that the word "fascism" has shifted meaning by now and I'm not going to argue with that, but to compare Trump to Hitler explains little except that they both lie a lot
and hate liberal elites.
I'd say his main interest is in the kinds of appeals that 'fascist politics' makes, and at that level there is some similarity.
He's not trying mainly to explain *exactly" why Trump won, as much as he's trying to explain the techniques he used. The quotes from Mein Kampf etc. are not intended to show that Trump "equals" Hitler but that the techniques translate across time: e.g., appeals to a mythic national past, a time before the country was supposedly either threatened or ruined by outsiders to (borrowing Benedict Anderson's phrase, which Stanley doesn't use) the imagined national community.
An example: Trump said or strongly implied that all Mexican (and by extension, all Central American) immigrants are rapists and criminals. Hitler said that all Jews were either Bolsheviks or wealthy parasites (depending on which speeches you look at) whose presence was undermining and destroying the Volksgemeinschaft (did I spell that correctly?). It's a similar kind of appeal on the level of rhetoric. The fact that the Trump administration did not go so far as to build gas chambers and murder millions of people, and that Trump might not even have believed what he was saying whereas Hitler did, does not eliminate or obviate the similarity at the level of rhetoric and what one might call strategic intention. This is what I take to be one of Stanley's points.
The book is not esp profound and it does not for the most part make "deep" arguments drawn from, say, the classical social theorists (though he does have one epigraph from Weber) but that doesn't mean it's worthless. As I said, I've returned it to the library so it's not in front of me any more.
Thank you for your book review. And yes, you spelled “Volksgemeinschaft” correctly.
More trivia while passing the time waiting for the election results.
Last night, while waiting to hear my first alma mater, Rutgers, get demolished by my second alma mater, University of Michigan (why Rutgers joined the Big 10 conference is beyond me – oh, right, revenue), my wife and I watched the Breeders Cup horse race on NBC. I have been on a horse about five times in my life, and gone to the racetrack about six times, and I know little about horserace handicapping. One of the competitors was a female horse named War Goddess, which the commentators indicated had beaten her male competitors several times. So, as we were watching the preliminaries leading up to the race, a trivia question popped into my head – how many times has a mare won the Kentucky Derby in a field of stallions? So I Googled the question and leaned that my terminology was wrong. The male horses that race in the Kentucky Derby, and in all horse races, are not stallions – they are colts. And the female horses are not mares – they are fillies. Which then led me to ask, how old is a colt/filly? Well, both colts and fillies are 4 years old or younger. Then, I thought, what would be the comparable age for a human? Google tells me that the lifespan of a horse is 25-30 years, and the average lifespan for a human is now 71 years. So, a colt age 4, or a filly age 4, is comparable to a human who is approximately 10 years old! If humans raced in the Kentucky Derby, we would have 10 year old kids running around the track.
Post-script: War Goddess came in third. And three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, out of 147 runs.
As I said above, I listened to Stanley talk about the book in Youtube and as you say, he's not especially profound. He's likeable and speaks clearly and persuasively, so I imagine that the book, as you say, is very readable.
Something happened, not only in the U.S., but in Italy and in Brazil and while it has similarities to the fascism of the 30's, we're in a different world, with different mentalites, with new technologies, in a different stage of capitalism and I don't see that anyone has explained very well or even tried to explain in depth what is going on besides deploring it.
I shd add that Stanley does talk a bit about Myanmar's persecution of the Rohingya Muslims, so not all the examples are drawn from the U.S. and Europe, though most of them are.
To David Palmeter and anyone else who is interested in the question I raised above about the Michigan Court of Claims,
I maintain that the appellate system established by the Michigan Court of Claims is inherently biased against parties who are suing the State of Michigan, or any of its subdivisions, because the trial judges on the Court of Claims simultaneously sits on the Michigan Court of Appeals, to which a losing party in the Court of Claims must file its appeal to. This requires that in order to correct an error made by the trial judge (who, while also an appellate judge, is precluded from sitting on the 3-judge panel of the Court of Appeals which reviews her trial court decision), the 3-judge panel must be willing to rule that their colleague made a mistake, a dynamic which favors the State of Michigan. Therefore, I maintain, the system is inherently biased and unfair, and therefore violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and is unconstitutional.
In response to my position, the Attorney General (Dana Nessel, who is running for re-election on Tuesday, and whom I support on other issues) argues in her brief that my concern is unfounded and exaggerated. She points out that there are numerous cases in which one of the judges on the 3-judge panel dissents from the ruling of her two colleagues, which demonstrates that the appellate judges are not reluctant to disagree with their colleagues. This argument has a superficial appeal, and I had to give it some thought. But my instincts told me that there is a flaw there somewhere, and then it came to me – Walla! The fact that in some instances an appellate judge is willing to disagree and dissent from the decision of her two colleagues in an ordinary appeal from a court other than the Court of Claims is not relevant here. In the case of an appeal from the Court of Claims, a judge on the 3-judge panel must not only disagree with her two colleagues, she must disagree with 3 colleagues, because the trial judge is also a colleague, and thereby gets a silent vote in favor of affirmance. This requires a higher degree of resolution for a judge to disagree and reject the ruling of her colleague who sat as a trial judge. It is as if in an athletic competition between two teams, the opposing team was allowed to have an extra football player or basketball player on its team. No one would believe that this is fair. Here, the State of Michigan has a psychological advantage over every losing party who sues it in the Court of Claims, and it occurs not sporadically, but occurs in virtually every case which is appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Given the odds, it is inevitable that in some cases the trial court judge has erred, and the system insures that the error will not be corrected. Moreover, since there is no automatic right to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, but appeals are discretionary by leave, and the Michigan Supreme Court only grants leave to appeal in 2% of the cases in which leave is sought, this means that in 98 out of 100 cases in which an appeal is sought from a Court of Claims decision, the risk of an error not being corrected is significant, and violates due process. QED.
Marc, non-human animals and human animals age at different rates over their life times but is greater at earlier ages. A three year horse is equivalent to about an18 y.o. human. Same for cats, dogs, etc.
"All of which are very different from the factors which led to Hitler's rise to power."
Maybe not so different. A constitution with time bombs. A serious financial crisis with clueless attempts to deal (Bruning deflation vs. financial system thrall and Republican sabotage), a kinder, küche, kirche, herrenvolk vibe on the right, Treasury View, gold standard then, neoliberalism now.
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