malsperanza: (Default)
[personal profile] malsperanza
On a 12 question political news quiz, Pew Research found that the average American answered just 5.3 questions correctly.

I missed 3, including the one about how much oil we import.

Date: 2010-04-13 04:43 pm (UTC)
ext_6866: (Thieving magpie!)
From: [identity profile] sistermagpie.livejournal.com
Wow. I actually got 11 right. Looks like I got the Dow Jones answer wrong. No surprise there. I have no money and don't want to think about it!

Date: 2010-04-13 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
I got the one about unemployment wrong, because I think the official figures are rubbish and the real number is much higher. The other one I got wrong was about the number of votes to override a filibuster--something I've heard a million times lately, but still didn't remember.

Yeah, the Dow... whether or not you have any money, you're implicated in it. It's kind of gross to see it in a list of questions about politics, but telling.

Date: 2010-04-13 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lolaraincoat.livejournal.com
I missed the oil one, too - got all the others right, though. It's possible that I have easier access to better coverage of the US here in Toronto than I used to have in rural Pennsylvania.

Date: 2010-04-14 12:09 am (UTC)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] larryhammer
11 right -- I guessed wrong on deaths in Afghanistan v. Iraq.

---L.

Date: 2010-04-14 02:02 am (UTC)
ext_22293: ([merlin] her smile is)
From: [identity profile] anjali-organna.livejournal.com
I got the Dow one wrong, although I guessed on the oil question. Still. I don't even consider myself as informed as I probably should be. I don't like to think how little most people know about what's going on.

Date: 2010-04-14 10:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
I got the oil one wrong too -- interesting that that was the one that the second-largest number of people got right. (But I got the other ones right, so I'm sticking my tongue out at you!) I was trying to think if there was a "populist" correlation with what people knew and didn't know -- foreign "threats" resonating more in the paranoid national psyche. Maybe a stretch, though. :) As an ex Hill staffer, I'm appalled about the lack of process and player knowledge about Congress, though. No wonder the R's just don't care about being nihilists. On the whole, looks as though slightly more than half the population is roughly informed about gross features of the external world, and about a third pay attention to government and policymaking. Two cheers for democracy!

Date: 2010-04-15 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
BD! How are you?

Pew asked questions about very current matters--none of the usual trick civics questions about how many members of the Supreme Court are elected, or what's the difference between a conference committee and reconciliation. So it was sort of testing how regularly Americans keep up with the news. Which is, of course, no less depressing. Interesting that we all seem to think we have reduced our reliance on foreign oil since the 1973 embargo. Silly us.

But, but, it was *virtuous* of me to confess my politics!fail. I got the unemployment question wrong because the official number is absolute bullshit, and I was hoping Pew didn't buy it. But I definitely got the filibuster question wrong--I can't keep it straight, despite the fact that it is currently the single most important rule in the Senate, god help us.

Date: 2010-04-15 06:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
Hey yourself! Doing pretty good. :)

I think I hate the filibuster rule with too flaming a passion to ever forget it. But yeah, unemployment -- don't most countries and most global academic/policy studies use the "participation rate"? It's the ultimate Catch-22 that if you're too discouraged to look for a job, you no longer count as unemployed.

How are you doing?

Date: 2010-04-15 07:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
I'm good!

I don't really understand why the filibuster changed its style. It seems to me that the rule as currently written wouldn't be a problem if the Dems simply required the Gops to actually perform the full filibuster every time. The spectacle would make a clear point about who is shutting down govt, and I suspect that the much-ballyooed party solidarity of the Gops would begin to fray if they had to stay up all night over and over, blathering about issues on which they don't actually substantially differ, but are just trying to screw Obama. Am I wrong? Did the rule change at some point?

Date: 2010-04-15 08:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
I think the problem is that if the D's made the R's stay up all night blathering, the D's would also have to sit there listening to them. And I have a sneaking suspicion that an awful lot of D's, at least of the actual office-holding sort, don't really care that much. I mean, these are the people who came this close to throwing away a health care victory because they only had 59 seats instead of 60, and spent two months deciding whether it was worth fighting or just easier to cave and whine about it.

I think you're right about a change, but I don't remember if it was an actual rule change. Sort of a practice change, where the intent to stage a filibuster could be taken as read and the call for a vote would be posponed by courtesy. I know they did change the rule a long while back from 67 to sixty votes, but obviously there has also been a change in practice where the R's are much, much quicker to resort to one.

I blame cameras in the chamber. It was the beginning of the end. Transparency be damned, neither the process nor the voters are rational information seekers. Cameras gives the crazies an incentive to perform for their own niche audience rather than cooperate with collegues.

I also blame the invention of the jet engine, which made it possible to routinely take weekends off during session, thereby eroding the formation of those indispensible personal bonds among colleagues!

Also air conditioning, and the electric light . . . :D

Date: 2010-04-15 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
But wouldn't just 1 Dem and 1 Gop have to be there at any given time? (I'm fuzzy on how they work, since no one actually does them anymore.) Not that I think this is a rational way to conduct business.

Of course the filibuster should be done away with entirely, and the only way to do that is to make people actually conduct them. We can blame cameras and home visits, but the "take it as read" thing is what has allowed the GOP to resort so easily to the Absolute No on every bill. Senators are men over 50 with prostate problems: make them sit in a room without pee breaks, and they'll be reconcilin' bills within the hour.

Just my theory.

Date: 2010-04-15 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] black-dog.livejournal.com
In teresting. I wonder if, as long as they are technically in session, whether as blatherers or blatherees, there is the danger of parliamentary mischief -- so in principle the D's might have to be available in force if need be. Though not necessarily in greater force than the Rs. Hmmm. I admit, I would love to see your theory tried out. If only to redistribute some suffering in the direction of people who cause so much of it. I just worry that a hard core would revel in it, and those people don't care about governing anyway.

I sometimes wish the Rs had been arrogant enough to pull the "nuclear option" a few years ago, when a handful of bad judges were getting held up by the Ds. (I wish the D's would kill it too, but the R's are more gung ho about trampling precedent and came genuinely close, I think.) I would have been sorry about the judges, but we're so deep in the hole there anyway. The bad side is that occasionally you have to put up with two years of horrible Republican legislation. The good side is that if the Rs's ideas actually got enacted they'd end up out of power for the next 30 years.

I hope. On the other hand, it's such a high-risk strategy -- what if the R's had succeeded in handing over Social Security to Lehman Bros. and AIG, as they tried to do in '05? And we know these people are capable of starting wars to cover political setbacks. A country may take a lot of ruining, but the R's are up to it . . .

Date: 2010-04-15 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] surliminal.livejournal.com
I've just noticed having made a link to you via Dr Who that we have at least one lit crit pal in common and apparently, law? this world is amazingly small..

Date: 2010-04-15 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
If you love pop culture, but want it to be intelligent and meaningful rather than just a place to park your brain, fandom offers endless possibilities, doesn't it?

I'm in publishing, not a lawyer, but deep in the doings of copyright reform, especially fair use/fair dealing, so I work with a lot of lawyers. Fandom is one of the places where current law is being tested in interesting ways--mashup, transformative use, and other kinds of creativity not imagined by the authors of present statutes.

Date: 2010-04-15 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] malsperanza.livejournal.com
Interesting! Is it a ppt for a presentation, I'm guessing?

I think Creative Commons is also developing some more tailored noncommercial licenses for fandom uses. Me, I'm all in favor of CC licenses, but I still think we need broader and more robust fair use defenses as well. Rumor has it that the EU has begun to think about developing a fair dealing exception to copyright modeled on the UK statute ... but I'm not holding my breath.

Oh and, that knitted Adipose? Is just ... words fail me.

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