Week Resadieu

by zunguzungu

Who is IOZ is right: “The smell of baking bread is better than the vote.”

On how women lawyers should dress in such a way as to minimize their being female:

This article is kind of horrifying. It covers an event at the Chicago Bar Association, where they highlighted fashion Dos and Don’ts for lawyers. Above the Law brought in two writers to cover the event, one of whom (Attractive Nuisance) seems pretty bright and is understandably horrified at all the What Not To Wear lecturing…there’s a big difference between making individual choices in a constricted environment in order to better your changes at getting a job you need, and convening a Bar Association panel where you have leaders in the legal field shaming women for what they wear, and promoting some really backwards, sexist viewpoints. This isn’t just a “how to get a job” panel; promoting these kinds of views at professional events does harm to female associates and female law students. It gives sexist men and women cover to discriminate both in hiring and in giving projects, and to brand female attorneys based on “appropriateness,” which too often correlates to perceived social class (of which race also factors in) and to body type.

Another body blow to the Left Behind series from Slacktivist:

When the big finale of your romantic comedy interlude ends with the guy chuckling while the girl weeps, humiliated, I think you’re doing it wrong. It makes the reader suspect that this is your idea of a happy ending. Worse, since romantic comedy is based on the satisfaction of resolution, it makes readers suspect that this is your idea of How The World Ought To Be.

“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution,” – Clay Shirky.

I don’t think it’s particularly likely that we would first-strike Iran but via Greenwald, we find the comforting suggestion that we’re specifically refusing to say we won’t:

“..the United States claims the prerogative to use nuclear weapons against the Islamic Republic of Iran, even as Iran remains a non-nuclear-weapons state…while the primary purpose of America’s nuclear arsenal is to deter nuclear use against the United States and its allies, deterrence is not its only purpose.  More specifically, the Administration [reserves] the prerogative for the United States to use nuclear weapons first, at its discretion, against non-nuclear-weapons states that are not, in Washington’s view, in full compliance with their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  In that context, recent statements by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior Administration officials that Iran is not in compliance with its NPT obligations seem quite ominous.”

On why even not ruling it out is a shit-poor idea:

Overall, Iranian reaction to the Nuclear Posture Review has focused on highlighting the illegitimacy of U.S. threats to use nuclear weapons against Iran and other non-nuclear-weapons states…Given Tehran’s record of official and religious rejection of nuclear weapons, for Ayatollah Khamenei to shift course at some point in the future and endorse nuclear weapons fabrication by the Islamic Republic would require him to explain, to the Iranian public and his followers throughout the Shi’a world, how Iran’s strategic circumstances had changed to such an extent that it was now both necessary and legitimate for the country to develop a full-fledged nuclear deterrent.  But, as a highly regarded Iranian analyst pointed out to us last week, having the United States threaten to “nuke” the Islamic Republic could plausibly be an important element in the changed circumstances that might warrant a fundamental shift in Iran’s posture toward nuclear weapons…There is no indication that Iran’s leadership is preparing to depart from its longstanding position regarding the acquisition of nuclear weapons.  But America’s nuclear weapons policy should not incentivize nuclear proliferation—and that, unfortunately, is precisely what the Obama Administration has done.

Where “the first hundred days” thing came from:

All presidents since the 1940s have been held to standards set by Franklin D. Roosevelt with regard to their relations with Congress. There is a common assumption that at least during Roosevelt’s first term, a compliant Congress gave him everything he wanted, and that the New Deal was exclusively an executive branch creation, with legislation written at the White House and promptly passed in Congress, sometimes without being read. This argument has been employed to promote the notion of presidential primacy in the federal government, from the “Imperial Presidency” to the “unitary executive.” While the image contains some truth, it is also clouded with inaccuracies. The media has measured Presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama by what they accomplished in their first hundred days. This prospect was so troubling to John F. Kennedy that he added a disclaimer to his inaugural address that “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days.” Roosevelt’s First Hundred Days were unique.

What ethnicity can’t be minstrelized?

The producers who made Jersey Shore are now working on literally-named spin-off The Persian Version. This is in addition to the Asian version in L.A. and the Russian version in Brighton Beach. Reality television: 21C minstrel shows? Los Angeles’ Asian version specifies Koreatown but is open to all Asians as well as fetishists: “If you are not Asian but are obsessed with Asian culture or people in some way, email us and please explain.” Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach is offering Russkies to counter Jersey’s guidos: “There will be plenty of vodka, techno music and guys wearing Adidas pants, leather jackets and gold chains, and driving souped-up cars.”

I doubt I’m going to see Date Night. But I was truck by this description in Slate:

Familiar as these early scenes feel—really, couldn’t directors just save time by inserting a title card that reads “Imagine deadening suburbia here”?—the scene at the tavern establishes an important detail: Phil and Claire enjoy one another’s company. Looking around at the nearby tables, they play a game in which they imagine their fellow patrons’ bizarre conversations, and their ad-libbed non sequiturs crack them (and us) up. Knowing the Fosters are capable of having fun—they’re bored with their routine, not with each other—sends us into the film’s second act with a rush of goodwill.

I like that the movie doesn’t resort to the sloppy “marriage=domesticity=hellish suburbia” equation that Revolutionary Road, for example, so thoroughly instantiates. I wonder if it’s because Tina Fey is at least as important to the movie as Steve Carrell? The “deadening suburbia” narrative is usually so centered on its male protagonist (while the wife gets identified with all the forces of conformity which chain his wild spirit, etc) that having a married couple as comic team — itself such a rarity in American pop culture — might make that move impossible.

Apparently the Westboro Baptist Church showed up in Charleston last week to blame the death of the 29 miners on America’s toleration of gays. I didn’t really know who those people were before, and I still don’t. This, for example, is hard to even comprehend:

One of the female protesters sang a rendition of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, replacing the lyrics with her own language condemning the dead miners.

Apparently at the Charleston picketing, they had signs that said “Thank God for Dead Miners.” I am at a loss.

Godspeed, Justice Stevens! From Jeffrey Toobin’s New Yorker piece a month ago:

Stevens’s ninety-page dissenting opinion in Citizens United (the longest of his career) was joined in full by Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, and was a slashing attack on the majority, laden with sarcastic asides. “Under the majority’s view, I suppose it may be a First Amendment problem that corporations are not permitted to vote, given that voting is, among other things, a form of speech,” he wrote. To make his displeasure clear, Stevens read his dissent from the bench. Justices usually read pared-down versions of published opinions, but Stevens prepared a twenty-minute stem-winder. When the moment came, however, he stumbled frequently, skipped words, and, at times, was hard to understand. (As when he said, “As the corp, court has long resembled . . .”) For the first time in public, Stevens looked his age.

And this, from his famous Bush v. Gore dissent:

“What must underlie petitioners’ entire federal assault on the Florida election procedures is an unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges who would make the critical decisions if the vote count were to proceed. Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit. The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today’s decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

I’m struck by the idea that confidence is the engine driving our legal system, though. That seems right to me, and also fascinatingly slippery. The law as a confidence man… That the bubble bursts doesn’t mean it wasn’t always a bubble.

Why the IPAD is teh evil!

For a few months, the Kindle – or the Sony Reader, or whatever e-reader floated your (Three Men In A) boat – was the perfect take-anywhere device. Sales of ebooks soared as first early adopters, then everyone else, left their paper books at home and started carrying around something smaller and lighter that still gave them access to their reading material. Those same people are now the ones who will buy iPads, or presumably any one of the myriad alternatives that will soon be flooding the market. But those people don’t want to carry around two tablet-shaped devices to help pass their commute, so they’ll make the sensible choice and leave their Kindles at home. Sure, the Kindle is unarguably the better reader device, but what many booklovers (myself included) have arrogantly overlooked is that it’s not competing on a level playing field with other e-readers. It’s competing against the whole universe of portable entertainment. “This ebook hurts my eyes – I’ll just surf the web instead.”

The Tea Party of Fox News:

…Tea-partiers are disproportionately attached to, and perhaps influenced by, FOX News. And they are particularly enamored of Glenn Beck. Nationally, just 18 percent of people have a favorable opinion of Beck (the majority have no opinion whatsoever about him). But most tea-partiers do. Do the math, and you’ll find that 59 percent of those who do think highly of Beck consider themselves a part of the tea-party. This is, in fact, the single biggest differentiator of any of the items that the NYT asked about: not ideology, not any particular political belief, but whom they watch on television

Asking questions about Clitoraid.

From the “Letter to Iraq” written by several of the soldiers involved in the atrocity documented by wikileaks:

To all of those who were injured or lost loved ones during the July 2007 Baghdad shootings depicted in the “Collateral Murder” Wikileaks video:
We write to you, your family, and your community with awareness that our words and actions can never restore your losses. We are both soldiers who occupied your neighborhood for 14 months. Ethan McCord pulled your daughter and son from the van, and when doing so, saw the faces of his own children back home. Josh Stieber was in the same company but was not there that day, though he contributed to the your pain, and the pain of your community on many other occasions.  There is no bringing back all that was lost. What we seek is to learn from our mistakes and do everything we can to tell others of our experiences and how the people of the United States need to realize we have done and are doing to you and the people of your country. We humbly ask you what we can do to begin to repair the damage we caused…

(Via) Henry Ford’s plan to create a fiefdom of freedom in Brazil:

In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America itself. Fordlandia, as the settlement was called, soon became the site of an epic clash. On one side was the lean, austere car magnate; on the other, the Amazon, the most complex ecological system on the planet. Indigenous workers rejected Ford’s midwestern Puritanism, turning the place into a ribald tropical boomtown. And his efforts to apply a system of regimented mass production to the Amazon’s diversity resulted in a rash environmental assault that foreshadowed many of the threats laying waste to the rain forest today.

More than a parable of one man’s arrogant attempt to force his will on the natural world, Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia is “a quintessentially American fable.