Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘corruption

Tuesday Shazbat

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* The world is awash in Robin Williams remembrances today, but for my money I’d recommend his recent appearances on WTF and Harmontown. Louie. Longreads has also collected four essays and his appearance on Charlie Rose. Robin Williams’s Best Bad Movie. Suicide contagion and social media. How to report a suicide. The MetaFilter thread.

* It’s primary day in Wisconsin. Endorsements from Shepherd-Express.

* Eyewitness to Michael Brown shooting recounts his friend’s death. Police Reportedly Refused Offer to Interview Man Who Was With Michael Brown During Shooting. Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas on Protesters Standing in Their Own Backyard. Ferguson Police Cite Safety Risk in Decision Not to Name Officer in Shooting. Ferguson, MO, is 67 percent black, and its police force is 94 percent white. The FBI steps in to investigate ultimately sign off on everything’s that happened. Dystopia as how-to manual.

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* Paramilitary Police Are Changing Law Enforcement in the Suburbs. Jon Burge, Torture, and the Militarization of the PoliceAmerican Gulag.

* Against civil forfeiture.

* Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be predicated on “peace, progress, and prosperity,” with “peace” defined as “forever war.”

ISIS Post PR Photos They Took With John McCain.

* CFP: Mean Girls.

* Nnedi Okorafor’s syllabus for ENGL 254: Science Fiction.

* On the greatness of Metroid.

* The NCAA Is a Wreck Now.

What’s less known, however, is that in the 2012 constitutional case, these same challengers filed briefs describing Obamacare to the court in precisely the way they now say the statute cannot possibly be read. Namely, they assumed that the subsidies were available on the federal exchanges and went so far as to argue that the entire statute could not function as written without the subsidies. That’s a far cry from their argument now that the statute makes crystal clear that Congress intended to deny subsidies on the federal exchanges.

* Ursula K. Le Guin: About Anger, Part I.

* The City and the City watch: a proposal that Israel and Palestine become grosstopic, overlapping states.

* Cary Nelson keeps digging: Zionist groups planned to lobby Univ. of Illinois trustees over Salaita appointment. Corey Robin has been coordinating some boycott campaigning for English and Political Science / Philosophy, though personally I think the English statement’s extension to tenure review cases is just too self-undermining to commit to.

* Announcing The Daily Show Podcast, without Jon Stewart.

* Marquette will give John Lewis an honorary degree at the new student convocation on August 20.

* California debates ‘yes means yes’ sex assault law.

Legislation passed by California’s state Senate in May and coming before the Assembly this month would require all schools that receive public funds for student financial assistance to set a so-called “affirmative consent standard” that could be used in investigating and adjudicating sexual assault allegations. That would be defined as “an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision” by each party to engage in sexual activity.

Silence or lack of resistance does not constitute consent. The legislation says it’s also not consent if the person is drunk, drugged, unconscious or asleep.

For some reason that escapes me, this is hugely controversial.

* The time Bruce Wayne had an affair with Barbara Gordon while she was dating Dick Grayson, impregnated her, before prompting her to head out and have a miscarriage while crimefighting. You know, for kids.

* Uber vs. Lyft: whoever wins, we lose.

* Apple’s workforce after 30 years of operation is still 70% male. And that’s better than most of the tech sector.

* Hoarders are the new Luddites.

Help a hoarder consolidate and safe-keep their things today. Lend them money to rent a storage locker. Volunteer to help them keep their things at your place. Their stuff is the final shred of resistance to the destruction of all non-Apple-approved human endeavors.

* Activision is making a new King’s Quest. Space Quest and Quest for Glory next!

How American Universities Have Destroyed Scholarship in the U.S.

* And because everything is a bummer today: Ponzi Scheme Capitalism: An Interview with David Harvey.

My question would be: can we not foresee a continuation of that ridiculousness for the foreseeable future, where you have one fiction built on another fiction, one crisis to the next?

Yes. I raise that question a bit in the book by saying there are these fictitious forms of capital that can continue to circulate and feed off each other, and they’re all Ponzi schemes, which can sometimes go on for a long time. Yes, there may be some possibility we’re moving into this era of fictitious capital formation and circulation, which is then managed by the central banks because they can just add zeros to the money supply at the drop of a hat, and have been doing so. First off, it seems to me increasingly senseless, and I suspect that people will start to say, well what’s the point of all of this? Secondly, I think the internal contradictions of that are that there’s going to be crashes, but then there have been financial crashes popping off all over the place for the last 20 years and capital has survived. For instance, there’s one in Indonesia, one in Argentina and then there’s one somewhere else. Dubai World goes bankrupt, somebody else goes bankrupt, there are all these asset bubbles popping up all over the place, and maybe we can continue in that vein for a while. But at some point, I think the possibilities will run out.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm

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Thursday Morning Links!

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In Landmark Decision, U.S. Patent Office Cancels Trademark For Redskins Football Team. So the Redskins will be forced by lost revenue and unrestrained anti-Redskins bootlegs to change their name — at which time bitter Redskins dead-enders will be able to sell each other Redskins-branded merchandise in protest…

* In praise of Diplomacy.

* We Have No Idea If Online Ads Work.

That plan goes something like this: maximize constrained educational choices that are a function of labor market changes; commodify inequality by organizing for the highest need students; extract guaranteed funds from public coffers; call it access; wash and repeat.

* Guernica‘s special issue on class, including a report on adjuncts.

* BREAKING: The U.S. Has the Most Expensive, Least Effective Health Care System. BREAKING: Guns kill children. BREAKING: The American prison system is a nightmare. BREAKING: Capitalism is insanely corrupt. BREAKING: Uber is a scam.

* Schools and/as prisons.

* Self-plagiarism is a really weird concept to pin down.

When innocent people are exonerated after wrongfully spending time in prison, some states pay money to the accused for their trouble. As data from NPR and the Innocence Project show, those payouts are often despicably low. 

* This Is How Much More States Spend On Prisoners Than On Students.

* Does the alternatives-to-incarceration industry profit from injustice?

* The economics of nuclear war.

* When Presidents Get Bored.

* Things instructional staff aren’t paid enough to do.

The logic on display here shows the toxic self-justifying nature of American military adventures. If a war accomplishes its stated objectives, that goes to show that war is great. If a war fails to accomplish its stated objectives — as the Bush-era surge miserably failed to produce a durable political settlement in Iraq — then that simply proves that more war was called for.

* And they say America’s best years are behind it.

* How the West was stolen.

* How ISIS Games Twitter.

Münchausen syndrome by proxy, mommy blog edition.

* The horror of postpartum psychosis.

* Against the GRE.

* Against the simplicity of “born this way.”

It seems that when you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first.

* Louie. Louie. Lou-eeeee. Louie. Louie. Lou-iiiiiii.

* You can kill anyone with your car, as long as you don’t really mean it.

* Walker said it was important to have a smooth-running highway system to avoid gridlock “that would choke off the ability of businesses to come in and out of Milwaukee.” “I think the last thing you want to do is have employers look to go bypass the city of Milwaukee when they’re talking about jobs and commerce here,” he said. “So you’ve got to make sure there’s a good transportation system.” And just wait until he finds out human beings use roads too!

* My brilliant wife has a poem in TAB.

* How to Catch a Chess Cheater.

Elon Musk “Hopeful” First People Can Be Taken To Mars in 10-12 Years.

* And even Colbert Report writers have to form tech startups now.

Meanwhile, Some Links

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* Marquette has a new president, the first lay president in its history. His farewell message to UWM.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone at UWM for your efforts to make this a great university. I have been proud to serve as your leader for the last three and a half years, and I am confident that UWM will continue to make significant strides to become a top-tier research university that is a great place to learn and work. I will continue to promote UWM and spread the word about the great things being accomplished by our campus even after I am no longer Chancellor. I will also work hard to strengthen and build partnerships between UWM and Marquette, as I believe that by working together, Milwaukee’s two largest four-year academic institutions will help address many of Milwaukee’s problems, drive growth within the region and increase the prestige of both universities.

* Dia/lectics of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

It Seems More and More Certain That We Live in a Multiverse.

Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling. US House votes to allow dumping of coal mining waste into streams. Escape the Devastation of Future Earth on a Luxurious Space Mayflower.

Roughly .02 Percent of Published Researchers Reject Global Warming.

An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz. This is the army-as-utopia piece I was going on about last week, if you were curious about it.

* What Life Will Be Like for Girls’ Hannah at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

What I’m Learning on a Simulated Mars Mission.

Harvard University has discovered three books in its collection are bound in human hide. Come now, only three? Don’t be coy, Harvard…

* Amy Acker joins Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. because of course she is.

Generations of political manipulation have finally turned that sense of solidarity into a scourge. Our caring has been weaponised against us. And so it is likely to remain until the left, which claims to speak for labourers, begins to think seriously and strategically about what most labour actually consists of, and what those who engage in it actually think is virtuous about it.

Inside UFO 54-40, the Unwinnable “Choose Your Own Adventure.”

* In sum, this so-called “data-driven” website is significantly less data-driven (and less sophisticated) than Business Insider or Bloomberg View or The Atlantic. It consists nearly entirely of hedgehoggy posts supporting simplistic theories with sparse data and zero statistical analysis, making no quantitative predictions whatsoever. It has no relationship whatsoever to the sophisticated analysis of rich data sets for which Nate Silver himself has become famous. The problem with the new FiveThirtyEight is not one of data vs. theory. It is one of “data” the buzzword vs. data the actual thing. Nate Silver is a hero of mine, but this site is not living up to its billing at all.

* Why was Charlotte’s absurdly corrupt mayor doing the bag drops himself? Amateur hour. He’s going to be so mad when he finally gets around to seeing American Hustle.

* Clickbait publication says stop talking so much about clickbait.

Garfield Minus Garfield Minus Jon Plus Jon Osterman AKA Dr. Manhattan.

* And nothing gold can stay: Bradley Cooper is rumored to take over Indiana Jones.

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Tuesday, Tuesday

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poverty segregation index* The U.S. Cities Where the Poor Are Most Segregated From Everyone Else. Milwaukee, alas, is #1.

* “Dr. Kissinger’s visit to campus will not be publicized, so we appreciate your confidentiality…”

* Dronespeak.

* Yet the Senate House files show a university elite admitting that outsourcing has actually pushed up costs and made services worse. Despite that, the executives vow to press on with an even grander privatisation scheme.

* How to Talk to Prospective Grad Students.

* “The Ivory Ceiling of Service Work.”

* BREAKING: Raising the minimum wage doesn’t actually crash the economy.

* BREAKING: The TSA is useless.

* Vignettes from the Modern Workplace.

* Whispers and rumors of Shaka Smart.

* Race, privilege, and paying college athletes. Meet the Press’s Epic NCAA Fail.

* Everyone hates Nate Silver now, and/but/because his model says Republicans will take the Senate. More at Slate.

* There is a large body of evidence now looking at AA success rate, and the success rate of AA is between 5 and 10 percent.

* The Atlantic profiles Duke’s Own™ Zach Blas and his Facial Weaponization Suite.

* Pointless cruelty in the British prison system.

* The College Board and ACT are being sued for stealing student information.

* In a civilized country, it wouldn’t be possible: Detroit water department preparing mass utility shutoffs.

* Then again, apparently we can’t even recognize the equal humanity of our own future selves.

* The law, in its majestic equality… Arkansas Judge Ruled for Corporation Just Days After PAC Contributions.

* Annals of Star Trek continuity. That explains it!

* Sometimes muckraking is the worst: What the Heidelberg Project doesn’t want you to know.

* To whom is George Zimmerman a hero?

* Scott Walker endorses Obamacare.

* Yale Daily News, 1971: Educated Unemployables.

* Life after prison in Baltimore.

* All this happened, more or less.

* Great moments in checks and balances: Obama will ask Congress to put an end to the NSA bulk data collection program the executive branch personally, secretly, and extralegally inaugurated.

* Precrime watch: LAPD says every car in Los Angeles is part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

* The Onion is founding a new comedy festival in Chicago.

* Polio eradicated in India.

* And BREAKING: The Qatar World Cup Is a Total Disaster.

Spring Break Monday Links

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Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney. What a story. I bawled.

* Apocalyptic flooding scheduled for Wisconsin.

Hampton, Florida, the little town so corrupt even the rest of Florida thinks it’s gone too far.

* Women run just a quarter of the biggest art museums in the United States and Canada, and they earn about a third less than their male counterparts, according to a report released on Friday by the Association of Art Museum Directors, a professional organization.

* The greatest secret of American manhood is: We are afraid of other men. Masculinity as Homophobia.

Union research document says Obamacare will hasten income inequality. When job creators create lousy jobs.

At best, job creation is merely an inadequate palliative for years of deep recession. At worst, it’s an active strategy for redirecting wealth upwards and further immiserating the working class. Quantify that.

Not even climate change will kill off capitalism.

* Millennials in adulthood. Millennials and college degrees. The Self(ie) Generation. College Grads Taking Low-Wage Posts Displace Less Educated. Are Millennials different?

* “You stole the documents we were hiding from you which proved we were lying, so we spied on you to find out how you did that.”

* Annals of Obama negotiating with himself.

* A theory of neoliberalism: Wages versus Assets.

* Democrats are really starting in with the surrender-to-hopelessness blitz EARLY this cycle. Meanwhile.

A rare sociological analysis of Federal Reserve policy confirms what many economists already knew: top central bank officials missed the oncoming crisis because they failed to make the connection between housing, the banking industry and the economy. I don’t know; my rule is never attribute to incompetence what can be adequately explained by soulless millionaires cynically cashing out.

What happens to our financial safety net when we are already renting out our couches, giving rides after work, and running tasks on the weekends just to stay afloat?

If you pirate a digital copy of The Triple Package, use the find and replace function. Find “successful cultural group” replace with “bourgeoisie” and then the book will become a coherent and honest provocation, rather than the triple package of neurosis, projection, and obfuscation that it really is.

Maternal mortality rates are falling in every industrialised nation – except for the United States.

* The latest for the “every cop is a criminal” file.

* The latest for the “lolz you didn’t write the laws right” file.

* Do I read this right? An off-duty cop shot somebody and the other guy got charged with assault?

* The unrelenting gaze of the police never wavers in Milwaukee.

Detroit Scam City: How The Red Wings Took Hockeytown For All It Had.

Idaho Governor Poised To Sign Totally Insane, Obviously Disastrous Bill Allowing Concealed Guns On College Campuses.

* de Blasio vs charters in NYC. How charter schools get students they want. In the great efforts they are expending to exclude the students that are the most difficult to educate, charter schools are lending more credence to my argument about the arrow of causation in our perception of school quality than I could ever generate.

The real problem is that a very few, very wealthy individuals override the voices of thousands upon thousands of experienced educators and parents.

* Mother Canada? Is that a thing? Displays of Canadian nationalism always seem off to me. Letting down the side, Canada.

* South by Southwest’s unpaid labor problem: Why it’s risking a class action lawsuit.

* Cartoonist Chris Ware on outsider art, reading aloud and the Common Core.

* Climate change is the modern fully realized, the modern as tending towards undoing its own conditions of existence.

* I had no idea just disintegrating in midair was something that could just happen to planes. I wish I didn’t know it now.

* Wages for Sea World animals: Yes, California Can Really Ban Shamu, Legal Experts Say. Can’t they just argue exploiting whales and making their lives miserable is free speech? That’s how it works with humans.

* I was saying this weekend (1, 2, 3) that voting for Rand Paul is not as irrational as it might seem at first glance, given the unilateral powers the executive branch has in the U.S. and his stated opposition to the war on drugs and the war on terror. What’s interesting is that Rand Paul himself absolutely does not want me to hold this opinion.

* Can We Learn About Privacy From Porn Stars?

* 11 of the Weirdest Solutions to the Fermi Paradox.

* A brief history of nonsense.

* Too late! We already designed modern cities around it.

Great walls to end tornadoes in our time? What could possibly go wrong?

* Truth and reconciliation in Guatemala.

* Towards White History Month.

In 2007, Gary Younge (he is an ally) suggested that what we all needed is a White History Month. Gary reminded us: “So much of Black History Month takes place in the passive voice. Leaders ‘get assassinated,’ patrons ‘are refused’ service, women ‘are ejected’ from public transport. So the objects of racism are many but the subjects few. In removing the instigators, the historians remove the agency and, in the final reckoning, the historical responsibility … There is no month when we get to talk about [James] Blake [the white busdriver challenged by Rosa Parks]; no opportunity to learn the fates of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who murdered Emmett Till; no time set aside to keep track of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, whose false accusations of rape against the Scottsboro Boys sent five innocent young black men to jail. Wouldn’t everyone–particularly white people–benefit from becoming better acquainted with these histories?”

* And Rebecca Onion has a 1940s Board Game for French Kids Taught Tactics for Successful Colonialism.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 10, 2014 at 8:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links!

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* What we’re talking about in my cultural preservation class today: Jyotsna Kapur’s “Capital limits on creativity: neoliberalism and its uses of art.” I’d actually suggest the adjunct herself functions as “the model worker of the new economy” alongside the freelancer.

The results of the Creative Culture Industry policy have already started to come in. Kate Oakley, among others, has shown that in the case of Britain these policies have exacerbated rather than eliminated inequality. They have led to gentrification and pockets of wealth in the midst of disintegrating social infrastructure. At the same time, work in the creative industries has become increasingly precarious — that is, temporary, project-based, and competitive, putting artists and media people in a constant in search of work (2006). As Richard Shearmur has indicated, calling upon local governments to modify their policies, planning, and budgets in order to respond to the preferences of the creative class boils down to reinforcing and subsidizing elites to a kind of ‘talent welfare’ that is reminiscent of ‘corporate welfare’ (2006-7, 37). In the process, art’s entire social role is undergoing a profound transformation. From being considered an imaginative and critical outsider or a participant in social transformation, the artist is now presented as the model worker of the new economy.

New, privatized African city heralds climate apartheid.

* The bad conscience of empire: Historic papers about the slave trade are among the enormous cache of public documents that the Foreign Office has unlawfully hoarded in a secret archive, the Guardian has learned.

* Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it.

* Pollution from Chinese factories is harming air quality on U.S. West Coast!

* The chemical spill that contaminated water for hundreds of thousands in West Virginia was only the latest and most high-profile case of coal sullying the nation’s waters.

* Only You Can Discover Oil Pipeline Spills, Since 80 Percent Of The Time The Companies Miss Them.

* Train Derailment In Philadelphia Leaves Crude Oil Car Dangling Over Schuylkill River.

* UWM sued over dissolution of student government.

New York’s Mayor Is Snow Plowing the City Along Class Lines Again.

* Campus shootings have become so common they barely make the news anymore.

* Good Guy with a Gun shoots self with gun, for second time.

Connersville, Indiana police chief David Counceller’s most recent self-inflicted wound occurred when his sweatshirt jammed against his 40-caliber Glock’s trigger as he attempted to holster the weapon. He was examining a new Glock at a gun shop at the time.

* ‘Pregnant Sims Can No Longer Brawl’ And Other Amazing Sims Patch Notes.

* Good Jersey / Bad Jersey: New Jersey Will Protect Pregnant Workers From Discrimination And Unsafe Conditions. Christie declines to sign bill requiring public notice of raw sewage overflows.

* Former Virginia Governor Indicted on Corruption Charges.

* The Racially Fraught History of the American Beard.

* “To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children’s characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence,” he wrote to Ó Méalóid. “It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite ‘universes’ presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times.”

* Once we had the Sideways House, now we have the Upside-Down House.

* Legalizing murder still working out great.

* What Grantland Got Wrong. When mainstream media is the lunatic fringe.

* How to Use Public-Private Partnerships to Screw the Poor.

* The headline reads, “Pubic Hair Grooming Injuries Have Quintupled.”

* If A then B: How the World Discovered Logic. The golden age of female philosophy.

* Back to the Future fan wants to make sequel accurate by releasing tons of Jaws movies.

* Don’t ever spoil Homeland for Jennifer Lawrence.

* If you eat the yellow pill, you will know all things. If you eat the green pill, you will know nothing but happiness.

* How to win a Best Actress Oscar.

* And never let them say our civilization never accomplished anything.

Monday Links, Part 2!

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* …comparing salary sharing as a portion of revenue in professional sports to scholarship funding as a portion of revenue in athletic departments, a new working paper published by Cornell University’s Higher Education Research Institute takes a different angle to make the same point: college athletes are being robbed.

On October 11th, a group of right-wing truckers is planning to drive to DC to shut down the major commuter highway that circles the city. They’ll continue to block traffic, they say, until they see the arrest of elected officials who have “violated their oath of office.”

* Nielsen releases a new Twitter-penetration metric.

How Someone Ends Up Working In Disability Studies.

Thanks To The Government Shutdown, College Sexual Assault Investigations Have Been Put On Hold.

Adjunct Stereotypes Exist for Administrators’ Ease.

* The headline reads, “U.S. Women Are Dying Younger Than Their Mothers, and No One Knows Why.”

In particular, growing health disadvantages have disproportionately impacted women over the past three decades, especially those without a high-school diploma or who live in the South or West.

Well, gee, I bet I can guess!

Reductions in the amount of public money allocated to universities are fuelling corruption within higher education systems across the world, it was claimed this week.

* Netflix as the new canon. I’ve seen this in my own classes.

* And the New Inquiry #21 is on witches. Enjoy!

Another One

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WNYC and The Record asked, separately, for documentation of NJ Transit’s hurricane preparedness plans. Both news organizations received the same reply: a three-and-a-half page document with the words “New Jersey Rail Operations Hurricane Plan” atop the first page.

Everything else was blacked out.

Written by gerrycanavan

May 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm

So Many Sunday Night Links

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* In 1988 the Los Angeles Times predicted we’d have robots by now.

Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year. But what’s the story on the headline? “Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor.”

* The struggle of adjuncts against Obamacare.

* Meanwhile, China is spending $250 billion a year on education.

Here’s a wild fact. At a Women in Science edit-a-thon at the Smithsonian led by Stierch, new articles about women scientists were nominated for deletion even as they were being posted.

Bruno Latour wins the 2013 Holberg Prize.

* What else could the British government spend £100 billion on, if not nuclear weapons?

Half of people shot by police are mentally ill, investigation finds.

On Saturday, March 9, New York City police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. After those seven bullets hit him, he lay on the ground and cried out, “Please don’t let me die.”

* Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor.

A Brief History of How We Lost the Commons.

* Graft and graffiti abatement.

Facebook finally admits to tracking non-users.

Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites. And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant. Welcome to the Internet without privacy.

* Search engines and the law.

“Yours truly, The Colored People of Concordia Parish.”

Nearly five decades later, the Justice Department has written back — not directly to the family of Mr. Morris or to the black community of Concordia Parish, but to dozens of other families who lost loved ones during this country’s tumultuous and violent civil rights era.

Several years ago, the F.B.I. began reopening cold cases from that era — 112 at last count — raising hopes among some for justice. In all but about 20, though, the families of the long dead have received letters, often hand-delivered by F.B.I. agents, that say their cases have been closed, there is nothing more to be done — and please accept our condolences.

2 Ohio football players found guilty of rape, to be jailed at least 1 year; case roiled town. CNN Reports On The ‘Promising Future’ of the Steubenville Rapists, Who Are ‘Very Good Students.’ Same story at Raw Story. Reactions from all the worst people in the universe. What Steubenville’s Rape Trial Reminds Us About Consent.

* Why is the European Central Bank trying to cause a depression? I mean really. I mean really.

“We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move.”

Famous Seattle Ceramicist Exposed as Holocaust Denier. Wow.

User-Renters in SimCity.

* The headline reads, “3,000 More Dead Pigs Won’t Make the Huangpu River Any Worse.”

* I’ve seen it a few times now, but I can’t believe any headline reads “Winnie Mandela Shocked at Possible Murder Charge.”

* Catholicism without Popes? The Pope Is Not the Church. Pope Francis sets casual style. Is Pope Francis a fraud?

The Smartest Guy in the Room.

* And just because Marquette’s a three seed: March Madness raw seedings, before the bracket. And the bracket itself.

Tuesday Night Wrapup

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* From the too-good-to-check file: Samuel Beckett Used to Drive André the Giant to School, All They Talked About Was Cricket.

* This scandal has everything! Jeb Bush caught up in LEGO-related corporate corruption.

* The new UC logo may be done with Aaron Bady, but Aaron Bady is not yet done with the UC logo.

* Today in how we are doomed.

* Today in Kirk/Spock slash: On “The Footnote.”

* Louis C.K. vs. Vanity Fair.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Not ever having to fill out this questionnaire.

Increasingly extreme weather is worsening food insecurity, displacement and other problems for rural families in Bangladesh, effectively robbing them of basic human rights, argues a report released on Monday.

Chicago Sets Record For Consecutive DaysWithout Snow.

* Study finds half of those shot by police are mentally ill.

To be a philistine, before we dismiss the possibility of major public support for the humanities, we need to picture ourselves with money.  Humanities faculty, I suggested in Austin, should then come together to design the proper infrastructure–staff research support, research-learning undergraduate courses, the copy writing, editing, and printing facilities, the relationships with institutional advancement, the distribution channels, travel and meetings, conference circulation and return invitations, the whole ensemble of people and activities that define healthy, modern, and socially valuable research divisions. We need to cost it out at each of our institutions. Then we need to enlist chairs, deans, and administrations to develop a multi-year plan to make this redevelopment happen.

Every day, offenders are sent out to perform high-risk police operations with few legal protections. Some are juveniles, occasionally as young as fourteen or fifteen. Some operate through the haze of addiction; others, like Hoffman, are enrolled in state-mandated treatment programs that prohibit their association with illegal drugs of any kind. Many have been given false assurances by the police, used without regard for their safety, and treated as disposable pawns of the criminal-justice system.

* Michigan is your next flashpoint for the war on labor.

* Things From Thomas More’s Utopia That Have Come True Today.

It’s not that I think liberals support torture. No, I think liberals want to be forced to support torture. What liberals want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them.

image-of-the-day-know-you* Hobbit Dwarves Cheat Sheet.

* Do we live in a computer simulation? UW researchers say idea can be tested.

* ‘The despair that I felt was overwhelming': on teaching in a New Orleans charter school.

* SEK: Against (the late) Springsteen.

“A lot of us are campaign officials — or campaign professionals — and we want to do everything we can to help our side. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines — whatever it may be,” Tranter said with a laugh.

Is an education crisis good for business? As the Ed Week reporter cited above pointed out, “There are market trends that support that theory. The commercial education market grew significantly in the past four years, but no segment grew faster than instruction and services. Companies like the virtual learning providers K12 Inc. and Connections Academy, or the publishers-turned-service-providers Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, fit that bill.”

* Calvin v. Santa.

* Oh, there it is.

* Bill Clinton concedes the drug war hasn’t worked. Gasp!

* “Jedi” is the most popular alternative faith in England.

* And Man of Steel trailer releaZZZZzzzzzz…

Three More

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* How MIT students beat the lottery How state officials conspired with MIT students to rig the lottery. Via.

Competing feminist impulses duke it out when women’s volleyball goes up against competitive cheerleading for Title IX supremacy. I declared this one “insolvable” on Twitter and I think I’m standing by that.

Nation’s Lower Class At Least Grateful It Not Part Of Nation’s Middle Class.

A survey released Wednesday by researchers at the University of North Carolina found that despite the many challenges they face, the nation’s lowest-income individuals are nonetheless thankful they don’t have to endure the unique hardships of the nation’s long-suffering middle class.

According to the report, the 46 million Americans who fall below the federal poverty line, though struggling mightily, are at least glad they don’t have to live up to some rapidly vanishing American dream of advancing in their career, making more money, and improving their lifestyle, the way their middle-income counterparts do.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

‘The Iron Law of Meritocracy’

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Washington Monthly quotes Chris Hayes’s book Twilight of the Elites:

And we might ask what a society that has been corrupted entirely by the Iron Law of Meritocracy would look like. It would be a society with extremely high and rising inequality yet little circulation of elites. A society in which the pillar institutions were populated and presided over by a group of hyper-educated, ambitious overachievers who enjoyed tremendous monetary rewards as well as unparalleled political power and prestige, and yet who managed to insulate themselves from sanction, competition and accountability; a group of people who could more or less rest assured that now that they have achieved their status, now that they have scaled to the top of the pyramid, they, their peers and their progeny will stay there.

Such a ruling class would have all the competitive ferocity inculcated by the ceaseless jockeying within the institutions that produce meritocratic elites, but face no actual sanctions for failing at their duties or succumbing to the temptations of corruption. It would reflexively protect its worst members; it would operate with a wide gulf between performance and reward; and it would be shot through with corruption, rule-breaking and self-dealing, as those on top pursued the outsized rewards promised for superstars. In the same way the bailouts combined the worst aspects of capitalism and socialism, such a social order would fuse the worst aspects of meritocracy and bureaucracy.

It would, in other words, look a lot like the American elite in the first years of the twenty-first century.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

Sunday!

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* Suppose you were alive back in 1945 and were told about all the new technology that would be invented between then and now: the computers and internet, mobile phones and other consumer electronics, faster and cheaper air travel, super trains and even outer space exploration, higher gas mileage on the ground, plastics, medical breakthroughs and science in general. You would have imagined what nearly all futurists expected: that we would be living in a life of leisure society by this time. Rising productivity would raise wages and living standards, enabling people to work shorter hours under more relaxed and less pressured workplace conditions.

Why hasn’t this occurred in recent years? In light of the enormous productivity gains since the end of World War II – and especially since 1980 – why isn’t everyone rich and enjoying the leisure economy that was promised? If the 99% is not getting the fruits of higher productivity, who is? Where has it gone?

* Corey Robin and Adam Kotsko on violence and “national security.” Here’s Adam:

To me, this is the ultimate disproof of the secular liberal contention that religion is the biggest possible cause of violence. Literally nothing could be more rigorously secular than “reasons of state,” and yet this principle has led to millions upon millions of deaths in the 20th Century alone. Of course, one could always fall back on the same dodge that allows one to get around the deaths caused by International Communism, for instance — “yes, they may have been officially atheistic, but in the last analysis Stalinism and Maoism are really religious in structure” — in order to define away abberant forms of “national security.”

And I think this typical dodge shows why the notion of religion as chief cause of violence has such a powerful hold — what “religion” signifies in such statements isn’t a body of beliefs and rituals, etc., but irrationality itself. It’s this irrationality that makes “religious violence” violent, not the body count. Within this framework, then, when rational people — for example, legitimate statesmen calculating the national interest — use violence for rational ends, it is not, properly speaking, violence. It is simply necessity.

(That’s the same reason why my typical rejoinder to “religious violence” rhetoric — “ever heard of money?” — also doesn’t work: the profit motive is rationality itself and could never be violent.)

Birth to 12 years in 2 min. 45.

* Undocumented Immigrants Paid $11.2 Billion In Taxes While GE Paid Nothing.

* Whistleblower Reveals Widespread Bribery By Walmart In Mexico.

* Swing States Are Swinging Toward Obama. But how will voters react when it comes out that PROSTITUTION!!!!

Wisconsin’s Planned Parenthood suspends non-surgical abortions.

* Against lotteries: Taking money from people who have little and are powerless against even the slightest chance of escaping poverty is the kind of activity usually associated with the Mafia and street gangs. State governments are more than happy to play the part though, and they’ve gone far beyond anything organized crime ever did in terms of exploiting the desperation of the poor and selling them false hope with terrible odds. Lotteries that take their money for the explicit purpose of giving it to people who are financially better off is evidence of how completely our governments – particularly here in the South – have abandoned even the pretense of holding the moral high ground. They’ve identified the victims of an exploitative system and chosen to use that to their advantage. More here.

Here’s an interesting wrinkle I’ve encountered in a few places. Many scholars sign work-made-for-hire deals with the universities that employ them. That means that the copyright for the work they produce on the job is vested with their employers — the universities — and not the scholars themselves. Yet these scholars routinely enter into publishing contracts with the big journals in which they assign the copyright — which isn’t theirs to bargain with — to the journals. This means that in a large plurality of cases, the big journals are in violation of the universities’ copyright. Technically, the universities could sue the journals for titanic fortunes. Thanks to the “strict liability” standard in copyright, the fact that the journals believed that they had secured the copyright from the correct party is not an effective defense, though technically the journals could try to recoup from the scholars, who by and large don’t have a net worth approaching one percent of the liability the publishers face.

Senator Frank Church – who chaired the famous “Church Committee” into the unlawful FBI Cointel program, and who chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – said in 1975:

“Th[e National Security Agency's]  capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.  [If a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A.] could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back.“

Now, the NSA is building a $2 billion dollar facility in Utah which will use the world’s most powerful supercomputer to monitor virtually all phone calls, emails, internet usage, purchases and rentals, break all encryption, and then store everyone’s data permanently.

* And Mark Stone was an undercover anarchist.

Monday Night Links

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Monday Lunchtime Links

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* You’ve got to wonder how much New Jersey kicked to the Center for Public Integrity to get this surprise least-corrupt accolade.

* Election hacked, drunken robot elected to school board.

* As we face the certain extinction of all life on earth, the question on everyone’s mind is: How will this affect the 2012 presidential race?

* Facts are stupid things: Growth In Government Spending Under President Obama Slower Than During Bush, Reagan Administrations. But don’t worry! The White House’s generous offer for even more cuts is still on the table.

Are video games just propaganda and training tools for the military?

“For decades the military has been using video-game technology,” says Nina Huntemann, associate professor of communication and journalism at Suffolk University in Boston and a computer games specialist. “Every branch of the US armed forces and many, many police departments are using retooled video games to train their personnel.”

Like much of early computing, nascent digital gaming benefited from military spending. The prototype for the first home video games console, the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey, was developed by Sanders Associates, a US defence contractor. Meanwhile, pre-digital electronic flight simulators, for use in both military and civilian training, date back to at least the second world war.

Later, the games industry began to repay its debts. Many insiders note how instruments in British Challenger 2 tanks, introduced in 1994, look uncannily like the PlayStation’s controllers, one of the most popular consoles of that year. Indeed, warfare’s use of digital war games soared towards the end of the 20th century.

“By the late 1990s,” says Nick Turse, an American journalist, historian and author of The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, “the [US] army was pouring tens of millions of dollars into a centre at the University of Southern California – the Institute of Creative Technologies – specifically to build partnerships with the gaming industry and Hollywood.”

* Daniel Engber at Slate has your Apple apologetics.

But Daisey’s version wasn’t even substantially true. It was substantially false. The version of the story that aired on the radio gave listeners a clear and false impression of the abuses at Foxconn. It inflated the prevalence and massaged the data. How much deeper could the lies have gone?

Apple employees are being mistreated in China, but perhaps not so much or so often that it really matters to most people, harsh as that may sound.

Related: zunguzungu on The McNulty Gambit.

* In Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that corporate donations to campaign Super PACs were legal because there was no reason to think they led to “corruption or the appearance of corruption.” This was a remarkably specious argument in the first place, but now we’re apparently going to test it to destruction.

* More on the SCOTUS beat: If you believe that the Court’s conservative majority is itching to strike down Obamacare, then the task is to launder this decision of partisan motivation. The Paul Clement court.

* Still more: Obamacare on Trial: Case of the Century?

* If the hole in the ozone layer were discovered today, we’d let the planet burn.

* A Critical Look at the Future of Zoos.

* Fresh from arguing that the female orgasm doesn’t exist, science now concludes women can have orgasms from exercising. Make up your mind, science!

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