Posts Tagged ‘slavery’
* Mother Jones on “the White House’s private outrage at former Secretary of Energy Steve Chu’s impromptu decision to talk about climate change while visiting an island nation uniquely threatened by it.” How dare he…
* Six women filed a federal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday alleging that Vanderbilt University, a prestigious school in Nashville, has failed to adequately respond to incidences of sexual assault on campus.
* Here come the ACA scammers. Meanwhile, in Obamacare follies: the “administrative fix.” The shorthand explanation for what’s going on here is that everybody — the insurance companies, members of Congress, and Obama — is bullshitting.
* There is plenty of violence in the world of hunter-gatherers, though it is hardly illuminated by resorting to statistical comparisons between the mortality rates of a tiny tribal war in Kalimantan and the Battle of the Somme or the Holocaust. This violence, however, is almost entirely a state-effect. It simply cannot be understood historically from 4000 BC forward apart from the appetite of states for trade goods, slaves and precious ores, any more than the contemporary threat to remote indigenous groups can be understood apart from the appetite of capitalism and the modern state for rare minerals, hydroelectric sites, plantation crops and timber on the lands of these peoples. Papua New Guinea is today the scene of a particularly violent race for minerals, aided by states and their militias and, as Stuart Kirsch’s Mining Capitalism shows, its indigenous politics can be understood only in this context. Contemporary hunter-gatherer life can tell us a great deal about the world of states and empires but it can tell us nothing at all about our prehistory. We have virtually no credible evidence about the world until yesterday and, until we do, the only defensible intellectual position is to shut up.
* The Eighth Doctor finally gets his sendoff in a prequel to the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.
* Malcolm Harris against the unpaid internship for credit. I think there’s still a place for educational internships, but at nothing like the rates we see today, and it should never be used to displace waged workers or make the company money.
* Shocked that Google Books is fair use. College and university administrators, take note!
* And I took so long posting this link dump the latest Andy-Kaufman-is-alive hoax has already fallen apart.
* Cooper Union Trustees Renege on Promise to Seat Student Trustee. Pretty amazing.
* Healthcare.gov Enrollments to Date a Pathetic < 50,000. That’s around 1% of existing uninsured, and almost certainly the sickest and most chronically ill from that pool. But if we just rationalize….
* Abolish Black Friday: Best Buy Joins Other Retailers In Denying Workers Their Thanksgiving Dinners.
* Despite claims by policymakers and some members of the news media indicating that public schools are by and large failing at the task of educating the nation’s children, the authors say that their analyses suggest that public schools are “actually providing a more effective education service relative to schools in the independent sector.”
* Slaves were allowed three day’s holiday at Christmas time, and so it was over Christmas that John Andrew Jackson decided to escape.
* And I didn’t link to this, but allons-y and all that: trailer for “The Day of the Doctor.”
* New drugs could extend cancer patients’ lives—by days. At a cost of thousands and thousands of dollars. Prompting some doctors to refuse to use them.
* The rich are different: Filthy Lucre.
* The wisdom of markets: Pinterest is now valued at $3.8 billion after its most recent round of fundraising generated $225 million. It’s an impressive feat for a company without any revenue. Note: that’s not no profit. That’s no revenue whatsoever.
* With a $100 million endowment and annual revenues approaching $300 million, TFA is flush with cash and ambition. Its clout on Capitol Hill was demonstrated last week when a bipartisan group of lawmakers made time during the frenzied budget negotiations to secure the nonprofit its top legislative priority — the renewal of a controversial provision defining teachers still in training, including TFA recruits, as “highly qualified” to take charge of classrooms.
* Abolition never happened: There could be slaves in the supply chain of your chocolate, smartphone and sushi.
* Decadence watch: Mixed Martial Arts for kids.
* 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.
* Were Brutalist Buildings Really Designed to Thwart Student Riots? I’ve been to UWM; you’ll never convince me otherwise.
* The New York Times says it will slowly, laboriously, exhaustively roll out a simple and obvious change to dramatically improve their reporting.
Apple’s email to Molleindustria apparently claimed that four such lines were crossed: two lines related to “charities and contributions,” and two further “crossed lines” that suggested the game had depicted “violence or abuse of children” and “excessively objectionable or crude content.” With a curious bit of irony, the letter from Apple focuses on the very trendy discourse of protecting children from the moral hazards of the Web — a trend also picked up by the current Tory government in the UK, which promotes various protective methods to ensure kids are safe from/in the online world. Indeed, one is tempted to connect such a moral panic discourse to a wider neglect of other types of surely more direct abuse of children, as well as other vulnerable groups of workers worldwide. Protect the kids, if they get online — but not if their labor helps you get online and support the digital economy slightly further away from the actual cognitive work.
* Scenes from the BART strike: two workers killed by management-driven train.
* I think one of the most damaging effects America’s omnipresent racism has on a person’s psyche isn’t the brief pang of hurt that comes from being called a slur, or seeing a picture of Barack Obama portrayed by a chimpanzee. Those things are common and old-fashioned, and when they happen I tend to feel sadder than angry, because I’m seeing someone who engages with the world like a wall instead of a human being. Rather, I think what’s far more corrosive and insidious, the thing that lingers in the back of my mind the most, is the framework of plausible deniability built up around racism, and how insane that plausible deniability can make a person feel when wielded. How unsure of oneself. How worried that you might be overreacting, oversensitive, irrational.
* A Song of Ice and Fire as feminist epic? That may be overstating it.
* In retrospect, even though I have no reason to doubt Yanomamo ferocity, at least under certain circumstances, I seriously question the penchant of observers (scientific and lay alike) to generalize from small samples of our unquestionably diverse species, especially about something as complex as war. On just-so stories and evolutionary explanations of history.
* The ne plus ultra of Americans’ irrational free speech absolutism: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse.
* At the rate things are going, tens of millions of us could end up as temps, contract employees, call-center operators, and the like: The Task Rabbit Economy.
* Moral panics we can believe in: Salsa Overtakes Ketchup as Most Popular Condiment. I don’t think this is even the first time this happened.
* The perfect rationality of markets: why don’t restaurants have dynamic, constant readjusting pricing schemes? What could possibly explain it?
* And a Rich Person Says You Should Major in the Liberal Arts. There you have it! Go!
* In 2002, a novel thought to be the first written by an African-American woman became a best seller, praised for its dramatic depiction of Southern life in the mid-1850s through the observant eyes of a refined and literate house servant. But one part of the story remained a tantalizing secret: the author’s identity.
* And a little something for 13-year-old-me: “Twenty years later, why Counting Crows’ August and Everything After is as meaningful as Nirvana’s In Utero.“ Take that, popular and critical consensus!
* In light of increased pressure on President Obama to order a military strike on Syria, leading historians and military experts on Tuesday simply pointed to the United States’ longstanding and absolutely impeccable record of successful bombing campaigns over the past 60 years.
“Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.”
Leipzig University Statute (1495)
* Slavery should be seen not as a sure sign of economic backwardness, but as a technically refined system for coordinating abstract knowledge and bodily violence: intelligence and torture, free trade and imperial war, financial data and brutal physical toil—all adding up to booming world trade, accumulating wealth, and ecological degradation. In this picture, the Cotton Kingdom looks like nothing less than the homeland of neoliberalism, and master and slave, the origin story of contemporary America.
* What rape culture: teacher gets 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself, on grounds that the girl (“older than her chronological age”) was ”as much in control of the situation” as him.
* And Dean Norris spoils the end of Breaking Bad. Shocking.
* Outrageous even by the bargain basement standards of the war on the terror: the United Kingdom held Glenn Greenwald’s partner for nine hours at Heathrow (and seized all his electronics) purely for the purposes of harassment. More from Greenwald himself.
* Speaking of which, ugh.
* “Since 1998, 92% of white males who were considered for tenure got it. During the same period of time only 55% percent of women and minority candidates were granted tenure. Looking at ethnicity alone, USC granted tenure to 81% of its white candidates but only to 48% of its minority candidates.”
* The New York Times runs what amounts to an unpaid* ad for Georgia Tech’s new all-MOOC master’s degree. * At least I assume it’s unpaid.
* As many as 40% of university language departments are likely to close within a decade, the former government adviser charged with bolstering foreign language uptake in higher education has warned, delivering a huge blow to the UK’s diplomatic and economic hopes.
* Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society…It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.
In general, the right seems committed to some mixture of denying the atrocities in Vietnam, claiming that everyone did it or the misdeeds were somehow justified by what the North Vietnamese did, and blaming the hippies. Latterday liberals acknowledge that bad things happened, but mostly don’t want to open up the can of worms, for fear that they’d be accused of being unpatriotic and hating the troops or something. The result is a strange form of historical forgetting, where there’s a general sense that bad things happened, but no understanding of how general these bad things were, nor desire to hold people accountable for them.
By comparison: can you imagine a monument to the genocide of Native Americans or the Middle Passage at the heart of the Washington Mall? Suppose you could walk down the street and step on a reminder that this building was constructed with slave labour, or that the site was the home of a Native American tribe before it was ethnically cleansed? What we have, instead, are national museums of Native American and African American culture, the latter scheduled to open in 2015. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian boasts exhibits showing superbly crafted Pueblo dolls, the influence of the horse in Native American culture, and Native American athletes who made it to the Olympics. The website of the Smithsonian’s anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture does show a shackle that was presumably used on a slave ship, but it is far more interested in collecting hats worn by Pullman porters or pews from the African Methodist Episcopal church. A fashion collection is in the making, as well as a collection of artefacts belonging to the African American abolitionist Harriet Tubman; 39 objects, including her lace shawl and her prayer book, are already available.
* Two from Buzzfeed (sorry): 25 Facts And Tidbits About The Muppets That Might Blow Your Mind. 21 “Breaking Bad” Easter Eggs That Will Blow Your Mind.
* And a damn good science fiction pitch from Tumblr. I’d love to see this optioned as a film.
* ‘We Come from the Future’: a short piece on African SF.
As for her own next move, she says it will be a total departure: a science-fiction romp. She has been reading a lot of Ursula K Le Guin. ‘It’s a concept novel. It’s the only novel I’ve ever written that has a plot, which is thrilling. I don’t know if I can do it. Those books are incredibly hard to write.’
* I believe this is explicitly against the law governing the CIA: Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report.
* A nation of temps: 15% of job growth since 2009, 40% or more in many urban areas.
Temp jobs accounted for whopping 116 percent of job growth in Memphis (that means that one sector added more jobs than all other industries together), 66 percent in Birmingham, 65 percent in Cincinnati, 58 percent in Hartford, 51 percent in Milwaukee, 46 percent in Kansas City, and 40 percent or more in Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
* ‘Black Babies Cost Less’: The Racial Realities of Adoption in America. Can’t help trying to pair this with the Baby Veronica nightmare still making its way back and forth through the courts.
* More nightmares: Worker Sues Employer For The Death Of Her Baby.
Cleveland State University undergraduates will see a 2-percent tuition increase this fall but can get it back as a credit on the next year’s tuition through an innovative program approved Wednesday by university trustees.
Beginning in the fall, students who complete 30 course credits in an academic year in good standing can earn the rebate for the following year. Students also will receive $100 per semester in book credits.
Meritocracy! Catch the fever.
During his remarks, the Texas governor also described Davis’ filibuster as “hijacking of the Democratic process” and said of the pro-choice movement, “the louder they scream, the more we know that we are getting something done.”
In the 1880s, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida passed laws making it a crime for a black man to change employers without permission. It was a crime for a black man to speak loudly in the company of a white woman, a crime to have a gun in his pocket, and a crime to sell the proceeds of his farm to anyone other than the man he rented land from. It was a crime to walk beside a railroad line, a crime to fail to yield a sidewalk to white people, a crime to sit among whites on a train, and it was most certainly a crime to engage in sexual relations with—or, God forbid, to show true love and affection for—a white girl.
And that’s how it happened. Within a few years of the passage of these laws, tens of thousands of black men and boys, and a smaller number of black women, were being arrested and sold into forced labor camps by state officials, local judges, and sheriffs. During this time, some actual criminals were sold into slavery, and a small percentage of them were white. But the vast majority were black men accused of trivial or trumped-up crimes. Compelling evidence indicates that huge numbers had in fact committed no offense whatsoever. As the system grew, countless white farmers and businessmen jostled to “lease” as many black “criminals” as they could. Soon, huge numbers of other African Americans were simply being kidnapped and sold into slavery.
The forced labor camps they found themselves in were islands of squalor and brutality. Thousands died of disease, malnourishment, and abuse. Mortality rates in some years exceeded 40 percent. At the same time, this new slavery trade generated millions of dollars for state and local governments—for many years it was the single largest source of income for the state of Alabama. As these laws and practices expanded across the South, they became the primary means to terrorize African Americans, and to coerce them into going along with other exploitative labor arrangements, like sharecropping, that are more familiar to twenty-first-century Americans.
* Does the BBC want Moffat off Who? Well, then, I guess that’s pretty much everyone.
* The AV Club argues the American Office, to the end, was a great television show about how terrible love can be.
* But it’s not only the Globe. This failure is repeated across the mainstream media landscape — the product of a mindset in which climate change is simply another environmental problem, albeit a particularly complex one for which we’ll eventually find a technical fix, mainly by doing more or less the same things we’re doing now, only more efficiently and with better technology. It’s nothing to get too excited about. It’s certainly not anything to sacrifice your career over.
* Mark Fisher on affective labor. Warning: The ultimate imagistic reference is pornographic, if that’s unpleasant for you.
Being exploited is no longer enough. The nature of labour now is such that almost anyone, no matter how menial their position, is required to be seen (over)investing in their work. What we are forced into is not merely work, in the old sense of undertaking an activity we don’t want to perform; no, now we are forced to act as if we want to work. Even if we want to work in a burger franchise, we have to prove that, like reality TV contestants, we really want it. The notorious shift towards affective labour in the Global North means that it is no longer possible to just turn up at work and be miserable. Your misery has to be concealed – who wants to listen to a depressed call centre worker, to be served by a sad waiter, or be taught by an unhappy lecturer?
Yet that’s not quite right. The subjugatory libidinal forces that draw enjoyment from the current cult of work don’t want us to entirely conceal our misery. For what enjoyment is there to be had from exploiting a worker who actually delights in their work? In his sequel to Blade Runner, The Edge of Human, K W Jeter provides an insight into the libidinal economics of work and suffering. One of the novel’s characters answers the question of why, in Blade Runner‘s future world, the Tyrell Corporation bothered developing replicants (androids constructed so that only experts can distinguish them from humans). “Why should the off-world colonists want troublesome, humanlike slaves rather than nice, efficient machines? It’s simple. Machines don’t suffer. They aren’t capable of it. A machine doesn’t know when it’s being raped. There’s no power relationship between you and a machine. … For the replicant to suffer, to give its owners that whole master-slave energy, it has to have emotions. … . The replicant’s emotions aren’t a design flaw. The Tyrell Corporation put them there. Because that’s what our customers wanted.”
* And the only way to win is not to play: In part, this is how all solitaire games work. The solitaire aesthetic in general is about taking rational content and form — apparent in the effort to model the range of a T-37 turret gun in the game’s structure — and giving it metaphysical expression and feeling in a game-play design. It is a constructed channel of experience, with clearly defined player operations, yet completely undefined in terms of how the player experiences it. Even though you are rolling a die and consulting a results table, you see the battle in terms beyond paper and dice; your mind creates a narrative in which the enemy is repulsed or surges forth, where a battle-scarred unit makes the break-through or where defeat is quickly assured when a leader is cut down in the opening hellfire of bullets. A string of successful rolls translates into cosmic kismet, failed rolls into a series of punches putting you on the ropes.
* Pay student athletes: Louisville’s Kevin Ware suffers gruesome leg injury. Will Ware be stuck with the bill?
Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware’s injury today in the Midwest Regional finals of the NCAA tournament will likely be remembered alongside Joe Theismann’s career-ender as one of the most tragically gruesome in sports history. But that’s not the only tragic and gruesome part of this episode, because unlike Theismann, who was working under a guaranteed contract, Ware was an NCAA athlete helping to generate millions of dollars for the NCAA, but not even guaranteed a four-year education scholarship. As in so many other similar cases, that means his injury in service to the NCAA’s multimillion-dollar machine could spell the end of his financial aid and massive healthcare bills to boot.
* From the comments on this New York Times piece on the forgotten legacy of slavery in American capitalism: During college at UNC I studied slavery often in my English major classes but it was never mentioned during an Economics course.
* The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. And yet for most of Western history, from ancient Greece to beginning of the nineteenth century, women were assumed to be the sex-crazed porn fiends of their day.
* Is it fair to force low-income children to bear the burden of fiscal adjustment? According to data available on the economist Emmanuel Saez’s invaluable Web site, from 1993 to 2011, average real income for the bottom 99 percent of the population (by income) rose by 5.8 percent, while the top 1 percent experienced real income growth of 57.5 percent. The top 1% captured 62% of all income growth over this period, partly owing to a sharp rise in returns to higher education in recent decades. (On average, those with only a high school education or less have few good income prospects.)
* The angels have lost their desire for us: Hurricane Sandy has cost Ocean and Monmouth counties more than $5 billion in
property taxes tax ratables. (ED: Whoops.)
* BREAKING: Everything got worse in 1981.
* There’s got to be a better way! Scenes from infomercials.
* And just because: How to make a “Bells of St. John” wifi name.
* In a post-employment economy, many are working simply to earn the prospect of making money.
So when a publisher comes to you and says “We like your book, can we buy it?” do not treat them like they are magnanimously offering you a lifetime boon, which if you refuse will never pass your way again. Treat them like what they are: A company who wants to do business with you regarding one specific project. Their job is to try to get that project on the best terms that they can. Your job is to sell it on terms that are most advantageous to you.
Oakland Police kept a man on its Most Wanted list for six months though he was not wanted for anything, the man claims in court.
And the most amazing part:
After “nearly a week of hiding in fear,” Van turned himself in on Feb. 13, “to resolve this devastating mistake,” the complaint states.
He was held for 72 hours, never charged with anything, then released, according to the complaint.
Yet on Feb. 14, the Oakland Police Department released a statement, “Most Wanted Turns Himself In,” which began: “One of Oakland’s four most wanted suspects has been taken off the streets. Last week, Oakland’s Police Chief Howard Jordan named Van Chau as one of the City’s four most wanted criminals. Today, the Oakland Police Department reports that Van Chau is off the streets of Oakland and is safely behind bars after turning himself in due to media pressure. Chief Howard Jordan said, ‘A week ago I stood with community members and asked the community to stand with me to fight crime and today we have one less criminal on our streets. Today a victim is one step closer to justice.’”
* The State Department’s latest environmental assessment of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline makes no recommendation about whether President Obama should approve it. Here is ours. He should say no, and for one overriding reason: A president who has repeatedly identified climate change as one of humanity’s most pressing dangers cannot in good conscience approve a project that — even by the State Department’s most cautious calculations — can only add to the problem. Good conscience! Good conscience! Hilarious.
* “It’s not for everyone”: working as a slavery re-enactor at Colonial Williamsburg.
* Nation’s Millionaires Agree: We Must All Do More With Less.
* The world’s most useless governmental agency, the FEC, is still trying to figure out fines for crimes committed three elections ago.
* Anarchism: illegal in Oklahoma since 1919!
* Also from the Teens: Dateline 1912: The Salt Lake Tribune speculates about “vast thinking vegetable” on Mars.
* Charlotte Perkins Gilman was right: New Experiment Suggests Mammals Could Reproduce Entirely By Cloning.
* 11 More Weird & Wonderful Wikipedia Lists. Don’t miss the list of fictional ducks and the list of films considered the worst.
* And let freedom ring: Judge strikes down NYC ban on supersized sodas.