Posts Tagged ‘Connecticut’
* Now we see the violence inherent in the system: Unreturned library books can mean jail time.
* It’s intuitive but wrong to picture the public debt as private debt we’re all on the hook for. In reality, public debt isn’t really properly thought of as borrowing at all, according to Frank N. Newman, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury under President Clinton. Since the U.S. doesn’t need to borrow back the dollars it originally spent into existence in order to spend them again, the purpose of issuing Treasuries is really just for “providing an opportunity for investors to move funds from risky banks to safe and liquid treasuries,” he writes. Investors aren’t doing the U.S. a favor by buying treasury securities; the U.S. is doing investors a favor by selling them. Otherwise, without the option “to place their funds in the safest most liquid form of instrument there is for U.S. dollars,” would-be bondholders “are stuck keeping some of their funds in banks, with bank risk.”
* Twitter account of the night: @ClickbaitSCOTUS.
* An administrative law judge in Florida this week upheld new rules by the State Department of Education that require significantly more of state college faculty members — particularly in the areas of student success — for them to earn continuing contracts (the equivalent of tenure).
* The kids are all right — they’re abandoning Facebook.
* The 38 Most Haunting Abandoned Places On Earth. Some new ones in the mix here.
* And good news everyone! Your dystopian surveillance nightmare is legal again.
* The victims of the Dunblane massacre would have turned 21 this year. The United Kingdom responded to this tragedy by banning private ownership of handguns; they had 39 gun homicides this year. We are radically free; we can choose to live in any type of world we like. Tax bullets. Ban bullets. Mandate insurance for gun ownership. Institute onerous licensing requirements and registration fees. Figure out some way to stop people from being murdered in movie theaters and schools. There’s no reason this should go on.
* In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousand firearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. By comparison, also in 2008, 587 Americans were killed just by guns that had discharged accidentally.
* Nine kids dead from guns in 24 hours. From 2007.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.
* Doctor Who: 100% true. Fact.
* On the set of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I would be very excited about this show if the protagonist weren’t yet another fantasyland Sorkin Republican.
* The end of the world and the impossibility of an alternative to financial capitalism are not just defining features of contemporary global imagination: they sustain one another. After all, if we might all be radioactive smudges on the tarmac come Tuesday, why not be out for as much as we can grab today? Why build a sustainable growth model if it might be underwater in thirty years? Unrestrained free-market capitalism requires that its vassals live in the moment, borrowing against their own futures, and for the past two generations of neoliberal policymaking, there have been logical reasons for us to do so.
* And some sad news: Rest in peace, Ernest Callenbach, father of Ecotopia.
* The State Department is infested with vegetarians. I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being vegetarians and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.
* The Committee on Climate Change report, with the hairy-sounding title “Statutory Advice on Inclusion of International Aviation and Shipping,” says that in 2050, the UK’s emissions reductions across the whole economy will cost 1-2 percent of the total GDP. THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH LET THE PLANET BURN
* This op-ed on the difficulty of a career in academia honestly only scratches the surface of how bad it can get. In the U.S. academy, for instance, the heteronormative perspective that is usually taken up as exemplary deeply obscures the costs of the job search on gay and lesbian academics, for whom movement between states and between institutions can mean radical shifts in their basic rights.
Kathleen Lynch, professor of equality studies at University College Dublin, has argued that the idealised academic has no ties or responsibilities to limit their capacity to work. “To be a successful academic is to be unencumbered by caring,” she says.
It’s a terrible way to force people to live.
* Lukas Neville, a doctoral student at Queen’s University in Ontario, reports in the latest issue of Psychological Science that there’s more evidence of academic dishonesty in U.S. states with bigger gaps between the rich and the poor. Those gaps, he speculates, erode trust among people—something that’s been found by other researchers—and less trust means more cheating.
* Some lovely anti-education agitprop in the Atlantic that, as is typical, bears absolutely no relationship to how the academic job market actually works:
After finishing their dissertations, PhDs are hired by a college, based on publication records, the reputations of their references, and the name of their graduate programs. If they happen to have picked up a little classroom experience through a temporary position, it is rarely considered by hiring committees.
Right, that’s totally how it goes.
* Detroit photography beyond ruin porn: Dennis Maitland.
* 15 writers’ bedrooms. They’re just like us!
* And 45 to go: Connecticut may be latest state to repeal death penalty.
* Sad news: Terrorist attack at Moscow’s busiest airport.
* Rumors are swirling that the Wachowskis may pull a Lucas.
* Soccer science! As game theory predicts, legitimate falls far outnumber fake falls, Wilson reported at the meeting. Only 6% of the 2800 falls were highly deceptive dives. Players were two to three times as likely to dive when close to the goal, where the payoff was huge: Statistics show that there is an 80% chance of scoring from penalty kicks. Almost none of the highly deceptive dives resulted in free kicks against the diver. And referees were most likely to reward dives that occurred close to the goals—perhaps because the players were farther away and the deception harder to detect, he noted.
* Headline of the day: Man admits mailing hundreds of tarantulas.
* I don’t want to alarm anyone, but it appears the Bush administration may have broken the law.
Unlike modern day climate change, however, the Mongol invasion actually cooled the planet, effectively scrubbing around 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere.
So how exactly did Genghis Khan, one of history’s cruelest conquerors, earn such a glowing environmental report card? The reality may be a bit difficult for today’s environmentalists to stomach, but Khan did it the same way he built his empire — with a high body count.
Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world’s total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests.
For certain values of “green”… Via MetaFilter.
* And also via MetaFilter: Vermont vs. corporate personhood. Republicans vs. the Internet. Rahm Emanuel gets Chicago’d. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. The United States of Shame. Teacher salary? Damn you North Carolina!
Seriously busy day today—hardly able to catch my breath. In lieu of that, some links.
* It was an unexpectedly good day for the Communofascist wing of the Democratic Party, with Joe Sestak beating Arlen Specter, Mark Critz winning in PA-12, and Bill Halter forcing Blanche Lincoln into a run-off in Arkansas. That Richard Blumenthal has managed to completely shit the bed in Connecticut can wait perhaps for another night.
* The video of our most recent Polygraph event—John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark discussing “the consumer trap—is now on iTunesU. The download should be free to everyone.
* A from-bad-to-worse update on the story of a seven-year-old Detroit girl killed by police officers during a no-knock raid: they may have been filming a reality show.
* It’s pretty scary to think that a person without basic qualifications could fraudulently pilot jets for 13 years without being caught, but at the same time it’s actually fairly comforting that in all that time nothing bad happened.
* This Dark Knight / Toy Story 2 mashup is an instant classic of the genre.
* Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 8 will be set in New York. I am intrigued.
* Lenin’s Tomb on why neoliberalism persists.
* And preparing now for next year’s job market. And the next year’s. And the next year’s…
Apparently. This is widely understood as good news for Democrats, as Dodd is significantly less popular than other Democrats in his state, especially the person most likely to take a run at the seat, State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
I’ll be all around in the dark. I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look. Wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be there in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be there in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they built—I’ll be there, too.
Heel turn: Linda McMahon, CEO of what in better days was still called the WWF, will run as a Republican for the Senate.
Lots of stuff happened this weekend, and I didn’t blog about any of it. Here’s some catch-up.
* Marriage equality has reached Connecticut. Three down, forty-seven to go.
* How big is “big”? However big “big” is, Obama’s still-unannounced fundraising total is it.
* Since polling began, only one candidate has ever closed a gap as the one now facing John McCain: Ronald Reagan. And since we already know Obama is the liberal Ronald Reagan, that leaves McCain pretty much high and dry. The RNC is even thinking of bailing on him to try and protect congressional seats.
* Though not everyone agrees McCain is toast. “My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.” And the media backs up his unhealthy delusions by reporting ten-point Obama leads as “toss-ups” and 2% McCain leads as “Lean McCain.”