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Who Has Short Shorts? The Radical Has Short Shorts!

December 21, 2010, 3:10 pm

Photo credit.

Do you ever have those days when you wake up and think, “If I didn’t blog so much I might publish more?”  Actually, for me it isn’t true, since I have been publishing more (on paper) since I started blogging, but nevertheless, this retrograde form of disseminating knowledge and wasting trees has seized me in a new way, and after days of grading, it cannot be denied.  So here are a few tidbits for your enjoyment:

Concurrent minority, anyone?  If you saw Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli last night on the PBS News Hour, and you know a bit of southern history, you might have heard shades of John C. Calhoun’s theory of state’s rights in Cuccinelli’s assertion that attaining a majority in the Senate is no way to make a law to govern everybody. In arguing that the federal government’s constitutional rationale for mandating the purchase of health insurance is incorrect and dangerous, Cuccinelli goes on to say:  “The power for the federal government is limitless under this theory of the Constitution, and the only limit left is majorities in Congress. And if it was just going to be majority rule, why have a Constitution in the first place?”

Can I have a witness on that?  Because if majorities in Congress don’t count, I would like universal access to abortion back, the immediate repeal of DOMA, the return of protections to GLBT peopel in the state of Virginia that were withdrawn on Cuccinelli’s orders last March.  Don’t even get me started here, Ken!  For a broader (and calmer) view of the historical context for these views, see  Manisha Sinha on the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession from the Union in today’s HuffPo.  Among other things, Sinha points out that “Not just nullification but secession is back in fashion. Some Republicans like Governor Perry have unearthed the constitutionally and militarily discredited notion of a state’s alleged right to secede from the Union, albeit more as a flamboyant political gesture than a serious threat. It is indeed a supreme irony of history that the Grand Old Party of the Union, the party of Lincoln, is becoming the Grand Old Party of Secession and Calhounian state sovereignty.” 

    Got Conference Monnehz?  On November 3-4, 2011, the NIOD, Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies is hosting a workshop in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) on ‘Internment, Incarceration and Detention:  Captivation histories in Western Europe around the First and Second World War.’ Go here for what looks like a truly intriguing conference, particularly given all the interesting new work appearing in this field.  After the conference, you can also wander off into Amsterdam and get legally stoned.

      Jimmy Carter Predicts A Gay Prez:  Isn’t this guy something?  Read the story in yesterday’s New York Times, also forwarded to me by the father of a student who shares my perverse fascination with a one-term president who has turned into one of the more courageous political observers of his time.  I find this particularly intriguing since I am finishing up an article now on gay civil rights in the Carter administration:  in 1977, Carter came out against the Briggs Amendment in California (so did Ronald Reagan), but was persuaded by his staff to maintain a distance from gay civil rights activists.  Nevertheless, it was during his administration that numerous barriers were dropped to federal employment of homosexuals, and the Civil Service and Federal Communications Commissions were persuaded by National Gay Task Force (now the NGLTF) to use their powers to enforce equal access for gays and lesbians.  While you are on the Times website, go here for today’s op-ed by George Chauncey on DADT.

      In Conclusion:  A souvenir from the 1980s that ties back into our title and reminds us that higher forms of femininity can be chemically induced.

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