Posts Tagged ‘debt’
* Qapla’ we can believe in: Klingon-Speaking Candidate Could Complicate NC Senate Race.
10 Unhappiest Metropolitan Areas With a Population Greater Than 1 Million1. New York, NY
2. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Louisville, KY
4. Milwaukee, WI
* “Persistent inequality”: America’s Racial Divide, Charted.
You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.”
* Could you be seated on a jury? I was bounced because I was perceived as too sympathetic to the defense, which is… weird.
* And at last some real talk: Why academics really use Twitter.
* Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him. But cops agree: cops haven’t used excessive force in Ferguson. 40 FBI agents are in Ferguson to investigate the shooting of Michael Brown, and they already know who did it. ‘Let’s Be Cops,’ cop movies, and the shooting in Ferguson. Reparations for Ferguson. John Oliver: Let’s take their fucking toys back. A movement grows in Ferguson. Ferguson and white unflight. Michael Brown’s autopsy suggests he had his hands up. An upside flag indicates distress. More links from Crooked Timber.
* Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit: The Neoconservative Origins of Our Police Problem. The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson. For blacks, the “war on terror” hasn’t come home. It’s always been here. Mapping the Spread of the Military’s Surplus Gear. A Militarized Police, a Less Violent Public. Even the liberal Kevin Drum agrees: We Created a Policing Monster By Mistake. “By mistake.” So close.
* Meanwhile: Detroit police chief James Craig – nicknamed “Hollywood” for his years spent in the LAPD and his seeming love of being in front of the camera – has repeatedly called on “good” and “law-abiding” Detroiters to arm themselves against criminals in the city.
* Law professor Robert A. Ferguson’s critique of the U.S. prison system misses the point that its purpose is not rehabilitation but civic death.
* A quarter century later, the median white wealth had jumped to $265,000, while median black wealth was just $28,500. The racial wealth gap among working-age families, in other words, is a stunning $236,500, and there is every reason to believe that figure has widened in the five years since
* Change we can believe in? CBS, Produce a new Star Trek Series Featuring Wil Wheaton as the Lead role/Captain of a federation Vessel. Any true fan would know that Wesley quit Starfleet to pursue his destiny with the Traveler, but perhaps I’ve said too much.
* Coming soon to the Smithsonian Galleries: Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910.
* Yahoo really wants you to think Donald Glover is in the next season of Community. That “I am serious. I am Yahoo Serious.” tag is pretty gold, though.
* And while I’m on the subject: I know it’s not for everyone, but if you ask me this may have been the most quintessential Harmontown of all time: melancholy, silly, ranty, with some great improv D&D. Give it a listen if you like Dan Harmon.
* The twenty-first century gold rush: debt collection.
* No Child Left Behind achieves its destiny: virtually every school in the state of Washington is a “failing school.”
* The problem with self-driving cars: they’re still cars.
* Students who graduated in 2008 earned more credits in the humanities than in STEM, the study found. Humanities credits accounted for 17 percent of total credits earned by the typical graduate. In contrast, STEM credits accounted for 13 percent.
* Not only are men more likely than women to earn tenure, but in computer science and sociology, they are significantly more likely to earn tenure than are women who have the same research productivity. In English men are slightly (but not in a statistically significant way) more likely than women to earn tenure.
* Huge asteroid set to wipe out life on Earth – in 2880. 865 years, that’s all we’ve got…
* Mining Spill Near U.S. Border Closes 88 Schools, Leaves Thousands Of Mexicans Without Water. Meet The First Pacific Island Town To Relocate Thanks To Climate Change. The Longest River In The U.S. Is Being Altered By Climate Change.
* The venture capitalist are now weaponizing kids. Of course, when you find out how much raising a kid costs, child labor starts to make a lot of sense. Plainly parenting is a market ripe for disruption.
* Primary 2016 watch: Only Al Gore can save us now.
* And they’ve finally gone too far: Edible LEGO. Some lines man was just never meant to cross.
* Another piece on Octavia Butler’s Unexpected Stories at LARoB: Noah Berlatsky on Octavia Butler’s “Unexpected Stories” and Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind.”
* Rutgers Athletics: Robbing Academics to Fund Big Sports. Libraries Receive Shrinking Share of University Expenditures. Historically Black Colleges and Universities Face Uncertain Future. Predictors of depression, stress, and anxiety among non-tenure track faculty.
* The Tech Utopia Nobody Wants. The Banality of Dystopia. Soak the Rich: An exchange on capital, debt, and the future. Ancient Apocalypse films use the past to project a reactionary present into the future.
* ThinkProgress on the latest bad-faith nonsense ruling against Obamacare. Don’t worry, the ruling against heath care subsidies is going to be reversed. What the D.C. Circuit Got Wrong About Obamacare.
* BREAKING: Pay It Forward Plans Make Everything Worse.
* BREAKING: The death penalty is an obscene horror show.
* The way we live now: One out of every 21 New Yorkers is a millionaire.
* Change we can believe in: The World Health Organization Wants to Legalize Sex Work and Drugs.
* What could possibly go wrong? DARPA Wants Wants to Fund Research into “Predatory” Bacteria.
* Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: Women And People Of Color Get Punished For Hiring To Increase Diversity, White Men Get Rewarded.
* They say time is the fire in which we burn: The Queen aging over time on bank-notes.
* ‘I withdraw’: A talk with climate defeatist Paul Kingsnorth. And it’s not all downside: Climate Change Could Threaten The Future Of Hockey.
* Wrapping up all the loose ends: Aliens Will Go To Hell So Let’s Stop Looking For Them.
* And someone in Congress edited the ‘Lizard People’ Wikipedia article. I knew. I always knew.
* Someone put Istvan Csicsery-Ronay’s keynote from ICFA this weekend on YouTube. The “Empire” ad Istvan plays from Computer Associates is amazing.
* No! No! I won’t believe it! It’s impossible! Bottom line shows humanities really do make money.
* Police officers in Hawaii are lobbying lawmakers not to repeal a statute that allows them to …. wait for it … have sex with prostitutes during the course of legitimate investigations. Repeating my joke from Twitter, “legitimate” in that sentence is working so far it should be allowed to have sex with prostitutes while on duty…
* Autopsy shows Texas cop fired fatal shot from close range into sarcastic student’s back. The officer is currently on administrative leave.
* It should be no surprise that when law enforcement agencies investigate themselves, they find no wrongdoing—especially since a study of the FBI’s internal investigations found that they cleared themselves of wrongdoing in 150 out of 150 fatal shootings. With that track record, the public can’t be confident in the integrity of an investigation with this predictable outcome.
* HBO In Talks with Lisa Kudrow to Bring ‘The Comeback’ Back for Season Two. I want to see that.
* Ideology at its purest? Why not just believe the things bisexuals say about themselves?
* The science fictional sublime: the art of Penguin science fiction.
* From the syllabus of my wonderful Cultural Preservation class: “Can Auschwitz Be Saved?” and “The Myth of the Vanquished: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.”
* Where the money goes: what $60,000 tuition at Duke buys you.
* Always worth relinking: StrikeDebt’s Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.
* On most policy questions of any importance, there are enough academics doing work to generate far more policy ideas than can seriously considered by our political system. When it comes to systemic risk, we have all the ideas we need–size caps or higher capital requirements–and we have academics behind both of those. The rest is politics. What we really need is for the people with the big megaphones to be smarter about the ideas that they cover.
* The schedule for the next four weeks of my Cultural Preservation course is up at the course blog. Benjamin! Fight Club! Ani DiFranco! Oh my!
* Black Chicago Residents Are 10 Times More Likely To Be Shot By Police Than White Residents. What could explain it?
* David Graeber: What’s the Point If We Can’t Have Fun?
* That “distressed baby” who Tim Armstrong blamed for benefit cuts? She’s my daughter. Armstrong could have paid for the full “cost” of both the babies directly out of his own salary and still made ten million dollars that year (in base salary).
* I think about the ways to address people who think computers are magic, and there’s lots of them, the ways I mean although there are also lots of people sufficiently baffled by their own phones to presume that physical laws SHIT LIKE TIME AND SPACE don’t apply to digitization projects…
* “The legislation is almost certainly unconstitutional, it’s a bad law, and it reinforces stereotypes about Jewish influence,” said one pro-Israel Democratic strategist familiar with the groups’ thinking. “It’s so bad that AIPAC and ADL oppose it.”
* Renowned science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning “Mars Trilogy,” will select the winners of a national flash-science fiction contest co-organized by Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated show “To the Best of Our Knowledge” and the Center for the Humanities and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gates “Beverly Crusher” McFadden will produce the scripts for radio.
* The Truman Show as eldercare: ‘Dementia Village’ – as it has become known — is a place where residents can live a seemingly normal life, but in reality are being watched all the time. Caretakers staff the restaurant, grocery store, hair salon and theater — although the residents don’t always realize they are carers — and are also watching in the residents’ living quarters.
* The prohibition and attempted eradication of drugs can be a nightmare for the climate and environment. Particularly in Latin America, the fight against drug production has led to deforestation, widespread contamination with toxic chemicals, and contributed to a warming climate. Meanwhile: Climate Change Comes for Your Cup of Tea.
* The worst people in the world: Four Long Island workers arrested for running ‘developmentally disabled fight club.’
* Sports Corner! How will news that Michael Sam is gay affect his NFL draft stock? 10 Points About College Hoops All-American Marcus Smart’s Pushing a ‘Fan.’ Why Superfan Jeff Orr Is A Much Bigger Problem For College Basketball Than Marcus Smart. More details on the Raiders’ cheerleaders wage theft suit. Olympic Committee Supports Russia’s Arrest of LGBT Activists. Why the Olympics Are a Lot Like ‘The Hunger Games.’ Detroit’s Unrealized Olympic Dreams. Only six of the previous 19 Winter Olympics host cities would be suitable to host the Games again by the end of this century due to warming temperatures, according to a new analysis. And The George Zimmerman-DMX Fight Has Been Cancelled, So At Least There’s That.
* New York State has roughly 15,000 zombie homes and leads the nation in the time required to foreclose on a home, at almost three years, according to data from RealtyTrac, a company that tracks troubled properties.
* If you’ve been wondering how Mockingjay will handle Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death, here’s your answer.
* Good news: FX will make Redshirts a limited series.
* And can The LEGO Movie really be that good? MetaFilter is on the scene.
* Your Face and Name Will Appear in Google Ads Starting Today. Instructions on how to opt out at the link.
* A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses. Such a category plainly shouldn’t exist.
* Studies in the Fermi Paradox: How Self-Replicating Spacecraft Could Take Over the Galaxy.
* Rutgers University has introduced a new theology course—with Bruce Springsteen as God. At least the facts check out.
* Craig Cobb, a white supremacist trying to establish a ‘whites-only’ enclave in North Dakota, appeared on NCBU’s The Trisha Show and agreed to take a test to determine his genetic ancestry. The test results were aired at the taping. Cobb’s genetic makeup is 86% European, and 14% sub-Saharan African.
* Poll watch: PPP is the worst.
* Essential for faculty with student loans: How to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Act. See also: The Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual.
* The most insidious feature of kludgeocracy is the hidden, indirect, and frequently corrupt distribution of its costs. Those costs can be put into three categories — costs borne by individual citizens, costs borne by the government that must implement the complex policies, and costs to the character of our democracy. Kludgeocracy in America.
* In black communities and black families, like the one where I’m from, kids are chosen. Knowing that the odds are against us, kids that show promise (not always academic, but athletic, musical, etc.) at an early age carry the hopes of their families and communities. They are supposed to defy the statistics to go out and become doctors and lawyers and send for mom, dad, and grandma. I was one of those kids: never got into any real trouble, maintained good grades, somehow managed to perform well on the ACT despite my school’s terrible preparatory program, and fell into a full scholarship at my state’s flagship university despite zero knowledge of how to apply to college. I was on track, but somehow along the line something happened, and I feel as if I failed to meet my end of the bargain.
I didn’t lose my way in some extravagant fashion by being kicked out of school or falling into a drug conviction. My deviation was much more subtle. Rather than going to school to be an engineer or a pharmacist, I chose to be a sociologist.
* There is a paradox in the workings of higher education so insidious that, even while it is destroying one’s life, the victim still rejects the possibility it exists. The seemingly impossible contradiction is that even though one is well educated, hardworking, and employed at a prestigious institution the recompense granted is a salary below the national poverty level.
* This isn’t because The Walking Dead is especially complicated, or even because, compared to its contemporaries, its cast is unmanageably large. It’s simply because The Walking Dead doesn’t care — not about internal logic, not about emotional or psychological coherence, not about its own ongoing history. And not at all about consequences.
* The limits of academic freedom: does it include autonomy in grading practices? What about professors’ right to just give everyone an A+?
As of July 2013, the value of the fund stands at $188 million, and annual earnings are estimated at $6.5 million per year. The regents typically use the interest earned on the fund, and what is left over is reinvested.
$6.5 million could pay the full tuition of 492 students or hire ~90 tenure-track professors at $70k/year.—
reclaim UC (@reclaimuc) August 16, 2013
* And Tressie McMillan Cottom says we need to stop condescending to for-profit university students. At Slate, unfortunately. UPDATE: Cottom has a response to MacGillis here.
I have a few pieces out in a couple of new books:
* “Debt, Theft, Permaculture: Justice and Ecological Scale” is in Debt: Ethics, the Environment, and the Economy, which is based on a conference the Center for 21st Century Studies at UWM held a few years ago. This one is a little bit more political economy than the usual stuff I write, extending what Lisa and Ryan and I tried to do in the Polygraph introduction, though I did manage to sneak in some Kim Stanley Robinson near the end.
* “Life Without Hope? Huntington’s Disease and Genetic Futurity” is in Disability in Science Fiction: Representations of Technology as Cure, out in hardcover today. The piece takes up a bunch of different pop-culture figurations of Huntington’s disease, but the focus is on Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos, Ian McEwan’s Saturday, Robert J. Sawyer’s Frameshift, and Octavia Butler’s Xenogenesis trilogy and “The Evening and the Morning and the Night.” No Kindle or paperback yet, but call your library!
I was also recently invited on the Old Mole Variety Hour out of Portland to talk a little bit about utopia, which you can find as a podcast here. As you can see at the link, I appeared as my famously inarticulate character “Jerry” Canavan, which explains why I begin every answer with “absolutely” and end every answer with “right?”
Then, when you turn the corner and look at what hulks across the street from the main Cooper Union building, you can see where a huge amount of the money went: into a gratuitously glamorous and expensive New Academic Building, built at vast expense, with the aid of a $175 million mortgage which Cooper Union has no ability to repay.
The bland name for the building is a symptom of the fact that Cooper’s capital campaign, designed to raise the money for its construction, was a massive flop: no one gave remotely enough money to justify putting their name on the building. It’s also a symptom of the fact that no one on the board had any appetite for naming it after George Campbell, the main architect of the scheme which involved going massively into debt in order to construct this white elephant.
Campbell, pictured grinning widely in a now-notorious 2009 WSJ article, claimed that Cooper was a financial success story when in fact it was on the verge of collapse. He’s the single biggest individual villain in the Cooper story, and it’s a vicious irony that Cooper’s latest Form 990 shows him being paid $1,307,483 in 2011 — after he left Cooper’s presidency. (Cooper Union explainsthat the amount represents six years of “deferred compensation/retention payments”, but the timing couldn’t be worse.)
Campbell’s enablers and cheering squad were a small group of trustees, many of them Cooper-trained engineers gone Wall Street, who had so internalized the ethos of the financial world that it never occurred to them that they shouldn’t be constantly trying to get bigger and better and shinier. Campbell was paid $668,473 in his last year at Cooper — he was one of the highest-paid college presidents in the country, despite running a naturally small institution with serious space and money constraints. Board-member financiers enabled his dreams of growth and glory, hoping that some of the glamor from the newly-revitalized institution would reflect back on themselves. Naturally, when the whole project turned out to be a disaster, they scurried ignobly off the board as fast as they could.
* Duke University faculty members, frustrated with their administration and skeptical of the degrees to be awarded, have forced the institution to back out of a deal with nine other universities and 2U to create a pool of for-credit online classes for undergraduates.
* At this point, both parties really just represent different fractions of the 1%; Wall Street funds both, but where the Republicans are supported largely by business, especially the extractive industries, the Democratic Party has become that of the upper echelons of the professional and managerial classes: of university administrators, museum board directors, doctors, lawyers, designers and marketing consultants.
* The debt debate is reminiscent of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. In a grand inversion, minor characters have usurped center stage, while the more important ones are out of sight. The Debt We Shouldn’t Pay.
* Also at NYRoB: Wikipedia’s Women Problem.
* The right to work less: Not only does the U.S. economy tend to produce lots of bad jobs, U.S. workers tend to spend far too much of their time doing them. In 2009, the average U.S. worker worked 1,681 hours compared to 1,390 in Germany. Germany’s experiments withkurzarbeit, a government program that provides income support to workers who accept reduced hours, has helped it avoid the problems of high and long-term unemployment that confront us here in the U.S. Instead of fighting for more work, much of which is likely to be bad, how about fighting for less work for everybody? This could be a very effective way to make sure that there are enough jobs to go around for everyone while limiting the amount of time workers spend in deadening, alienating labor.
* Science! “Our findings confirm that beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring,” the researchers wrote.
* What is the legal justification for signature strikes? What qualifies as a “signature” that would prompt a deadly strike? Do those being targeted have to pose a threat to the United States? And how many civilians have been killed in such strikes? The administration has rebuffed repeated requests from Congress to provide answers – even in secret.
* And just in from the local tourism board: 100 things to do in Wisconsin this summer.