Posts Tagged ‘police brutality’
* While the Nazi totalitarianism strove to give the masses a sense of collective power and strength, Kraft durch Freude (“Strength through joy”), inverted totalitarianism promotes a sense of weakness, of collective futility. While the Nazis wanted a continuously mobilized society that would not only support the regime without complaint and enthusiastically vote “yes” at the periodic plebiscites, inverted totalitarianism wants a politically demobilized society that hardly votes at all.
* In a book coming out this spring, Goffman, now a 31-year-old assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, documents how the expansion of America’s penal system is reshaping life for the poor black families who exist under the watch of its police, prison guards, and parole officers.
* Durham police defend lack of public information in teen’s death. I am continually amazed and horrified by the police stonewalling on this story. How can they not be required to admit how the teenager died?
* For racking up a record that has veered from unethical conduct to staggering incompetence, CREW’s voters awarded Gov. Walker the title of Worst Governor in America.
* Federal Student Loan Profits Help Duncan Cut Education Spending To Lowest Level Since 2001. What a sickening spectacle.
* Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions. So we’ll only have to sue 90 companies into oblivion? That seems pretty manageable.
* No war in Iran? Unhappy warmongers, just pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and try again next decade.
* MetaFilter post on the only musical I ever need to see: Fun Home: The Musical.
* And did I do this one already? An Upworthy Generator. Now you can be inspired by heartwarming stories on your own timetable…
* Should celebrities teach online classes? This was a reductio ad absurdum just a few months ago; I guess things really do move fast in the future.
* We cannot have a realistic discussion of the state of the humanities in the United States without talking about the disinvestment in public education that is taking place at all levels of America’s educational system. But the New York Times says we can solve it all with one quick fix so transparent and obvious it can’t even find a single skeptic to quote!
* Federal Bureaucrats Declare ‘Hunger Games’ More Complex Than ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ As an SF studies guy, I’m quite conflicted about this; luckily the rest of the article makes clear how broken the whole system is so I don’t have to worry.
* Which Companies Dominate Your State’s Politics? More links below the image!
* China Miéville in Guernica on the new law of the West Bank.
* Western black rhino declared extinct. Still have north, south, east, and a bunch of other colors though. Nothing to sweat about.
* What happens if all the ice melts? Even more links below the image!
* Dolphins and humans: friends or frenemies? Aeon reports.
* Surely some threshold has been crossed: Under Armour Outfits Northwestern In Blood-Splattered American Flag Football Uniforms.
* Unleash the unschools: How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses.
* Whether intentionally or not, At Berkeley not only toes the administration’s line but faithfully brings to life the administration’s way of seeing. Students and workers are rendered (if, that is, they appear at all) as anonymous data points, the personification of tasks (e.g. mowing the lawns) and economic flows (e.g. scientific research), and occasionally inconvenient, illegible, and irrational obstructions.
* In The Real World, Revenge Porn Is Far Worse Than Making It Illegal. But the abstract principle at stake…
* Stop worrying: Hungry Animals Would Take Down a Zombie Invasion.
* And Henry Louis Gates pitches a Django Unchained / 12 Years a Slave double feature. Sounds good to me.
“They start with the assumption that something is broken,” says Patricia A. McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, which serves low-income women in the District of Columbia. “Then they take the next step of deciding what the fix is before they really understand the problem.” Skeptics say such confidence is dangerous when dealing with complex social phenomena like education.
* Scalia: activist judges caused the Holocaust. Truly a dizzying intellect.
* Despite calls from students, faculty, the LAT and the Sacramento Bee to allow greater public discussion and debate over the appointment of Janet Napolitano as President of UC, the Regents moved ahead and quickly named her to the position. In so doing, they have forfeited what little moral and ethical authority they retained as leaders of the University of California. They retain, of course, the legal power to act as they please and as they have done. But we should be clear that they have rejected the idea of a University and have declared that they see UC as simply another bureaucracy to be managed from the top.
1. A failure rate of 56-76% translates over 40 courses (roughly typical for a four year college) into an infinitesimally low graduation rate. 56% gives you 0.0000000084629%. That’s a bit low because students could take more than 40 courses to manage graduation, but it’s also a bit high because it doesn’t allow for the 17% who didn’t finish the courses.
* Over the past year and a half, in the wake of Thomas Philippon and Ariel Resheff’s estimate that 2% of U.S. GDP was wasted in the pointless hypertrophy of the financial sector, evidence that our modern financial system is less a device for efficiently sharing risk and more a device for separating rich people from their money–a Las Vegas without the glitz–has mounted.
* How the University Works, 1965: Football Game Continues as School Burns. More links below the picture.
* I’m nursing a pet theory. Which is that there are actually four main political parties in Westminster: the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Ruling Party.
The Ruling Party doesn’t represent the general electorate, but a special electorate: the Alien Invaders and their symbiotes, the consultants and contractors and think-tank intellectuals who smooth the path to acquisition of government contracts or outsourcing arrangements — the government being the consumer of last resort in late phase consumer capitalism — arrangements which are supported and made profitable by government subsidies extracted from taxpayer revenue and long-term bonds. The Ruling Party is under no pressure to conform to the expectations of the general electorate because whoever the electors vote for, representatives of the Ruling Party will win; the only question is which representatives, which is why they are at such pains to triangulate on a common core of policies that don’t risk differentiating them in a manner which might render them repugnant to some of the electorate.
* To make matters even worse for restaurant workers and diners, a spate of “preemption bills”—which bar localities from makings laws requiring paid sick leave—has been surging through state legislatures with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the National Restaurant Association, one of ALEC’s members. The first of these bills was passed in May 2011 in Wisconsin. Last week, Gov. Rick Scott signed Florida’s version into law, making it the eighth state to preemptively block paid sick leave for its workers (and the 13th to try) in just two years.
* Everything old is new again: Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval.
* NSA Rejecting Every FOIA Request Made by U.S. Citizens. The innocent have nothing to fear…
* And another great Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. I could post one of these every day.
* Olafur Eliasson’s immersive installation Your Waste of Time presents massive pieces of ice that broke off from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull. The oldest ice in the glacier is estimated to have originated some 800 years ago, around AD 1200. Presented as sculptures that visitors can walk around and contemplate, their continued presence is made possible by refrigerating the gallery space to maintain a temperature below freezing. The physical experience of centuries-old ice from the glaciers of Eliasson’s native Iceland makes tangible a history that extends beyond the human life span—time that is measured in thousands of years rather than mere decades.
* Jodi Dean drops some knowledge in the war on higher education.
The whole attack on jargon is barely masked anti-intellectualism. No one worries about the jargon of particle physics, neuroscience, or custody law. In fact, we recognize that knowledge takes multiple forms and speaks to multiple audiences. Not every audience needs to be (or wants to be) addressed the same way — and, again, it’s thinly veiled anti-intellectualism to imply that everything should be accessible to everyone. For example, I can’t read and understand a paper in theoretical physics, but I can read and follow a popular book on, say, black holes. That popular book would be worthless, however, without the real science backing it up. And, again, we shouldn’t expect that the same people who carry out the experiments, make the observations, and do the equations will necessarily be the ones to write the popular books.
You know, the real problem is this language of ‘costly’ — it points to what I already mentioned, namely, that the one percent has decided that it no longer wants to fund higher education for the majority. Why is it that tenure is costly but Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon are not? Their salaries in a single year –alone –would more than cover the salary of the entire faculty where I teach. Let’s not pretend that there is some kind of objective analysis of education going on here. It’s class war, plain and simple.
* So here’s your nickel summary. If a law is passed on a party-line vote, has no justification in the historical record, and is highly likely to harm black voting, that’s OK as long as the legislature in question can whomp up some kind of neutral-sounding justification. Judicial restraint is the order of the day. But if a law is passed by unanimous vote, is based on a power given to Congress with no strings attached, and is likely to protect black voting, that’s prohibited unless the Supreme Court can be persuaded that Congress’s approach is one they approve of. Judicial restraint is out the window. Welcome to the 21st century.
* And Sorority Girl Buying Bottled Water Ends Up Spending Night in Jail. Of course the innocent have nothing to fear.
Who but a black teenager has the ability to dehumanize a police officer with a stare? Who but a(n unarmed) black teenager can make (armed) police feel threatened by clenching his fists? Who but a black teenager can simultaneously clench his fists and feed a puppy? Who but a black teenager isn’t afforded the opportunity to comply with a request before it’s determined that they’re not complying? Who but a black teenager is choked to the point they urinate themselves while being handcuffed? When does any of this happen to people aren’t black teenagers?
In other words, while a few already well-paid superprofessors get their egos stroked conducting experiments that are doomed to fail, “second- and third-tier universities and colleges, and community colleges” risk closing because Coursera and its ilk have sent higher education price expectations through the floor and systematically devalued everybody else’s work. And they get to do all this while dispensing a produuct that they know is inferior! Jay Gould would be proud.
* The irony, of course, is that “business” logic can kill its own host, like any parasite. When taken as an end in itself, it destroys everything — and then there’s nowhere else to invest, no more areas producing real values that can be syphoned off into the giant pool of money. The imaginary values that finance has racked up then become the object of a game of hot potato, furiously churning through the system until the point when they simply disappear (i.e., lose all their value). That’s what running everything “like a business” does — it trades real value for imaginary value that is then destroyed.
* Just because it’s totally ineffective doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it: A study by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2011, which looked at school closures in six US cities, found that school districts end up saving less than had been predicted. But think of all the other advantages school closings offer!
A University of Chicago study focusing on schools closed between 2001 and 2006 found that only six percent of displaced students ended up in high-performing schools.
And 42 percent of students continued to attend schools with ‘very low’ achievement levels. A year after changing schools, students’ reading and math abilities were not any better or worse.
Students who did go to better-performing schools also had to travel an average of 6km to get there – which critics say risks the safety of students who have to go through neighbourhoods containing rival gangs.
And here, at the limit of life that idling alone brings into view in a nonthreatening way, we find another kind of nested logic. Call it the two-step law of life. Rule No. 1 is tomorrow we die; and Rule No. 2 is nobody, not even the most helpful robot, can change Rule No. 1. Enjoy!
* The Essential Verso Undergraduate Reading List. Makes me think I really need to start including more theory on my syllabi.
* MOOCs we can believe in? One of the most remote outposts of Jesuit higher education is tucked away in dusty northwest Kenya, in a place whose name means “Nowhere” in Swahili. There, at Kakuma Refugee Camp, a small group of students — refugees from several neighboring African countries, including Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia — are enrolled in online courses taught by 28 Jesuit colleges, mostly in the United States. The course is part of the Jesuit Commons project.
* Unexpected: SCOTUSblog now thinks there’s at least five judges who will vote to strike down DOMA. Meanwhile, McCaskill seems to have triggered Hagan to announce her support of marriage equality.
* Ripped from the stuff Fox News usually just has to make up: Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has stepped into the fray over an offensive classroom exercise at Florida Atlantic University in which students were asked to stomp on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it.
Boston College officials sent a letter to students on March 15 demanding an end to student-run “Safe Sites,” a network of dorm rooms and other locations where free contraceptives and safe sex information are available.
Students living in the “Safe Sites” were told in the letter that the distribution of condoms is in conflict with their “responsibility to protect the values and traditions of Boston College as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.”
* xkcd considers the past as another country … with an outdated military and massive oil reserves.
* And making the rounds again: The 50 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever.
* Austerity: not all bad? Meat Industry May Shut Down For Weeks Due To U.S. Spending Cuts.
* The Journal-Sentinel profiles Einstein Productions, a Milwaukee non-profit founded with the help of the Marquette University College of Communications providing job training assistance to people on the autism spectrum.
* Natural gas and oil production is the second-biggest source of U.S. greenhouse gases, the government said, emboldening environmentalists who say tighter measures are needed to curb the emissions from hydraulic fracturing.
* Winter in an era of climate change: “We will see a shorter snow season, but more intense individual snowfall events.”
* Boston University student tasered for throwing a snowball at a cop. Seems proportional.
* According to the new survey, 54 percent of Americans approve of using drones to kill high-level terrorism suspects, while 18 percent disapprove and 28 percent are undecided. … But support for drone strikes in the new HuffPost/YouGov survey dropped to 43 percent if the terrorism suspects are U.S. citizens, with 27 percent disapproving and 31 percent saying they’re not sure. If innocent civilians may also be killed in the process of targeting terrorism suspects, only 29 percent approve of using them and 42 percent disapprove. I’m amazed the numbers are that low, to be honest. Perhaps there’s an opportunity here to leverage Republicans’ knee-jerk hatred of Obama for anti-imperialist ends.
* The surfeit of attention paid to the figure of the entrepreneur in the present moment reveals it to be an object of impossible longing, a fiction riven by ideological contradictions. He—it is usually a he as portrayed in media—is an abstraction but also manifest as a Mark Zuckerberg or a Peter Thiel. He is both an idea and a real person. The distance between the two—mirrored in the gulf between what he is meant to stand for and what we are supposed to do in emulating flesh-and-blood entrepreneurs—reveals some of the deep contradictions in how we live our lives and how we think.
“I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered and libeled me,” Dorner writes, who identifies throughout his manifesto as a patriot whose core beliefs have been shattered. He realizes that he has, as we might say, ‘lost the plot’. He’s happy to tell you why that is, and why he believes he has to divert his killing skills away from the people they were intended for, and against those who trained him. His manifesto or letter, titled simply, ‘Last Resort’. is addressed to America, in a final plea, perhaps, that they address the heart of darkness that lies at its core. The heart of darkness which turned Christopher Dorner from a man who believed that he could best serve his country by working as a navy reservist and LAPD officer, to a man who believed he could best serve his country by destroying the LAPD entirely using the skills he learned in the navy.
* And you’ve always wondered: how does AOL make money? The Atlantic reports.
* From the reclaimuc archives: The police state in Europe vs. the police state in the US.
* And the average age at which people reach the lowest point of happiness in their lives in various countries. I feel pretty certain mine is and will always be 31, but then I’ve always been an outlier.
* 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.
* Today in Kirk/Spock slash: On “The Footnote.”
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* ‘The despair that I felt was overwhelming’: on teaching in a New Orleans charter school.
* “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.”
“According to the complaint, [New Mexico police officer Chris] Webb shot his Taser at the child after he said he did not want to join fellow classmates in cleaning the officer’s patrol car. Courthouse News reported: Defendant Webb responded by pointing his Taser at R.D. and saying, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.’ … [H]e sent 50,000 volts of electricity into the child’s chest on the playground. The young boy blacked out and has, according to his legal representative, been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder ever since.”