What to do with Yoo

by Henry on April 4, 2008

“Brad DeLong”:http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/04/this-garment-st.html writes:

My first reaction is that I should write to Professor William Drummond, Chair of the Berkeley Division of the University of California Senate, stating that in my opinion it is time for him to convene a committee to examine whether John Yoo’s appointment to the University of California faculty should be revoked for moral turpitude.

But I find myself frozen, unable to decide whether I should or should not write to William Drummond. I find myself frozen because I am confronted by the ghost of medieval scholar Ernst Kantorowicz. Ernst Kantorowicz–right-wing authoritarian anti-Democratic anti-communist German nationalist–was asked as a condition of his appointment to the University of California faculty to swear this oath:
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by Henry on April 4, 2008

Via “Chris Hayes”:http://www.chrishayes.org/blog/2008/apr/04/forgotten-radical/, this _TAP_ “story”:http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=dr_king_forgotten_radical on Martin Luther King’s intellectual legacy is very good. It was only after reading an early draft of Rick Perlstein’s _Nixonland_ (out in a couple of months one month, by the way) last year that I understood how genuinely radical King’s vision was, and how profoundly the ‘mainstream’ American right hated him at the time. Perhaps it’s inevitable that the King is remembered and celebrated as a visionary, but that his actual vision is completely ignored. The story that America likes to tell itself is one where the US successfully met the challenge that King posed. But that story doesn’t do justice to the actual man and his actual arguments.

Update: for an interesting exercise in compare and contrast, look at how “McCain’s version of King in his speech today”:http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/04/scullys_debut_a_mccain_meditat_1.php

We can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing, and Dr. King understood this about his fellow Americans. But he knew as well that in the long term, confidence in the reasonability and good heart of America is always well placed. And always, that was his method in word and action — to remind us of who we are and what we believe.

stacks up against King’s “actual _modus operandi_”:http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=dr_king_forgotten_radical

His “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” is in fact a blunt rejection of letting the establishment set the terms of social change. “The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation,” he wrote, later adding, “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

Andrew Golis’ “piece”:http://agolis.wordpress.com/2008/04/04/the-santa-clausification-of-martin-luther-king-jr/ on Cornell West and the “Santa-Clausification” of King is also worth reading.

Update 2: “Rick Perlstein”:http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/nixonland posts some of the relevant material from _Nixonland_ online. “David Brooks”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/opinion/04brooks.html?ref=opinion take note. I’ll have more on _Nixonland_ closer to publication date; suffice it to say for the moment that it’s a worthy follow-up to _Before the Storm._


by Kieran Healy on April 4, 2008

Via John Gruber comes news that the already somewhat odd augmenting of U.S. currency with larger typefaces and random bits of color has taken a horrible turn. Behold the new five dollar bill.


The new additions to this bill, apparently intended to increase legibility and accessibility, were made by my daughter, who is four. Or possibly by Harold and His Purple Crayon. Actually, as the folks at Hoefler & Frere-Jones point out, this monstrosity is in fact “the work of a 147-year-old government agency called the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It employs 2,500 people, and has an annual budget of $525,000,000.”

Meanwhile in Britain, the design for their new line of coins was selected after an open competition and is the work of a 26 year-old designer who hadn’t tried his hand at coin design before.