Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘The Wire

Today Is Tuesday!

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* Gasp.

Worker’s Comp Lessons From an Injured Adjunct.

* Progressive nonprofits that don’t pay their interns.

* At the beginning of April, one of the most important labor unions in U.S. higher education staged an unexpected two-day strike. It wasn’t the American Association of University Professors — the left-leaning professors’ union — or a chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, representing service workers; it was United Auto Workers Local 2865. Auto workers might appear to be an odd group to strike across American university campuses, but Local 2865 represents 12,000 teaching assistants, associate instructors and undergraduate tutors at University of California campuses.

* The Minimum Wage Worker Strikes Back.

Kavanagh is referring to the lowered rate-per-bed the GEO Group offered Arizona as the national economy cratered in 2008. The rate applied to emergency “temporary” beds  at two of its facilities to house an overflow of prisoners. In exchange for the discount, the state agreed to meet a 100% occupancy rate for all non-emergency beds at both prisons.

* The Hogwarts MOOC is here.

* On the trail of the phantom women who changed American music and then vanished without a trace.

* Carcetti 2016.

* Big Data: A Statistical Analysis of the Work of Bob Ross.

* Coming soon: Approaches to Teaching the Works of Octavia E. Butler, edited by Tarshia L. Stanley.

* DC says it’s finally publishing Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.

Avoiding Climate Catastrophe Is Super Cheap — But Only If We Act Now. I have some terrible news.

* How to Lie with Data Visualization.

* Casino Says World-Famous Gambler Cheated It Out of $10 Million.

* Zero tolerance watch: Police charge high school student with disorderly conduct for using iPad to prove he’s being bullied.

* KFC Selling Fried Chicken Prom Corsages as World Falls Into Darkness.

* Walt Disney presents: Firefly.

* Science has officially proven the exact age that men get grumpy. Still so many years for me to go.

* Fingers crossed! Wisconsin Republicans To Vote On Secession.

* Uh oh, better cut taxes.

* BREAKING: The Grand Budapest Hotel is a huge hit for Wes Anderson.

* And happy (belated) 80th birthday, Fredric Jameson.

Tuesday Night!

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* Reviews of Disability in Science Fiction at Tor and wordgathering focus on my chapter in particular, each taking up a different half of it; read them together and you get a pretty good sense of what I was on about.

* Confirm your suspicions about who the worst people at Gawker are: What Should Be Done About Detroit? A Gawker Internal Debate.

* The corporate university and permanent crisis.

Radicalizing Fantasy and the Power of Disidentification.

UConn Is Under Federal Investigation For Allegedly Mishandling Rape Cases.

American Companies Made No Progress In Gender Diversity On Boards For 8 Straight Years.

Why U.S. Parks Are Full of Squirrels.

* The good-looking are different from you and me.

Remembering Nelson Mandela and His Fight for Climate Justice.

David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.’

Boy with Asthma Dies After School Confiscates His Inhaler. “Zero tolerance policy against asthma inhalers.”

That’s not what the Left wants. We want to give people the chance to do something else with their lives, something besides merely tending to it, without having to take a 30-year detour on Wall Street to get there. The way to do that is not to immerse people even more in the ways and means of the market, but to give them time and space to get out of it. That’s what a good welfare state, real social democracy, does: rather than being consumed by life, it allows you to make your life. Freely. One less bell to answer, not one more.

‘Revenge porn’ site creator charged with extorting victims to have nude photos removed.

* And Obamacare is still a huge, huge bummer, forever and ever amen.

All the Midweek Links

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* The headline reads, “37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario.”

* As fully intended by its authors, a federal judge has blocked Walker’s abortion bill.

* Also in that’s-the-whole-point news: Undocumented Worker Alleges Wage Theft, Ends Up In Deportation Proceedings.

* Living nightmares: I Got Raped, Then My Problems Started.

Duke University Agrees To Expel Students Who Are Found Guilty Of Sexual Assault.

British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows.

* State Department Admits It Doesn’t Know Keystone XL’s Exact Route.

The 2 Supreme Court Cases That Could Put a Dagger in Organized Labor.

Insurers Refuse To Cover Kansas Schools Where Teachers Carry Guns Because It’s Too Risky. Maybe my plan to force gun owners to carry liability insurance would have worked after all.

Nearly 1 in 6 Americans Receives Food Stamps.

* The cause of the crash landing of a Boeing 777 in San Francisco is still unclear. But pilots say they had been worried about conditions at the West Coast airport for a while. An important flight control system had been out of service for weeks. No One’s Talking About the Flight Attendant Heroes in the SFO Crash.

* Great moments in neoliberalism: Chris Christie’s Boondoggle.

A University’s Offer of Credit for a MOOC Gets No Takers.

* Against Oregon’s delayed tuition scheme: 1, 2. Just putting everything else aside:

1. It is not pragmatic. The two most difficult challenges it raises are how to fund its initiation and how to collect on the money loaned.  Nowhere do its proponents explain where Oregon will get the estimated $9 billion needed to start the program, or how the state will ensure that graduates repay.

CUNY Faculty Protests Hiring of David Petraeus.

* Designer Looking For People To Do Their Job Without Pay (Anywhere).

* A hundred years before Dracula, there was Carmilla.

Meeting first in their dreams, Laura and Carmilla are bound together in the original female vampire romance. What can Laura make of an ancestral portrait that resembles her mysterious new friend or the strange dreams she experiences as she is drawn ever closer to this beauty of the night?

* Holy @#$%, Michael Jackson almost starred in a Doctor Who movie. Second choice (the legend goes) was a little-known stand-up you may have heard of, Bill Cosby.

* Other Doctor Who ideas that seemingly make no sense at all: We almost got a live Doctor Who episode.

* Disaster: Donald Glover will only appear in 5 of 13 Community episodes.

* The Ender’s Game Boycott Begins. Orson Scott Card cries out for tolerance and understanding.

* Actual Teen vs. Adult Teen.

* Empire watch: China builds the largest building in the world, complete with internal sea shore.

* Meanwhile: Florida may have accidentally banned access to the Internet.

A Detroit area school district has erupted in protest over the discarding of a historic book collection that is said to contain more than 10,000 black history volumes, included films, videos, and other artifacts. The blame, according to residents of Highland Park, a small city surrounded on nearly all sides by Detroit, belongs to Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon, who claims the collection was thrown out by mistake but that the district cannot afford to preserve it.

* Can we stop worrying about millennials yet?

Midwestern Dad Could Be Deported For Smoking Marijuana Fifteen Years Ago.

* How the actors relaxed on the set of The Wire.

* And an important link for my particular demographic: Twelve Colorful Words That Start with Z.

Monday Morning Links

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* The baby from Salt of the Earth works at Wal-Mart.

Some 74 percent of professors aged 49-67 plan to delay retirement past age 65 or never retire at all, according to a new Fidelity Investments study of higher education faculty. While 69 percent of those surveyed cited financial concerns, an even higher percentage of professors said love of their careers factored into their decision.

“Studies show that about 30 percent of the cost increases in higher education over the past twenty-five years have been the result of administrative growth,” Ginsberg noted. He suggested that MOOA can reverse this spending growth.  “Currently, hundreds, even thousands, of vice provosts and assistant deans attend the same meetings and undertake the same activities on campuses around the U.S. every day,” he said.  “Imagine the cost savings if one vice provost could make these decisions for hundreds of campuses.”

Our great, global cities are turning into vast gated citadels where the elite reproduces itself.

Philadelphia Closes 23 Schools, Lays Off Thousands, Builds Huge Prison.

The conclusions are inescapable: In our zeal to dehumanize criminals we have allowed our prisons to become medieval places of unspeakable cruelty so far beyond constitutional norms that they are barely recognizable.

* Life for a 31-year-old after fifteen years in jail.

These Photos Of NYC’s Subway Project Are Astonishing.

* I think I’ve done this one before, but hey, it’s summertime: 30 Beautiful Abandoned Places.

GPS maps reveal where cats go all day.

Six Fairy Tales for the Modern Woman,

* Imagine there’s no bees.

* And David Simon comes to his senses. UPDATE: Nope. See comments.

Gotta Help Obama Keep the Devil Way Down in the Hole

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But those planes really did hit those buildings.  And that bomb did indeed blow up at the finish line of the Boston marathon.  And we really are in a continuing, low-intensity, high-risk conflict with a diffuse, committed and ideologically-motivated enemy.  And for a moment, just imagine how much bloviating would be wafting across our political spectrum if, in the wake of an incident of domestic terrorism, an American president and his administration had failed to take full advantage of the existing telephonic data to do what is possible to find those needles in the haystacks.  After all, we as a people, through our elected representatives, drafted and passed FISA and the Patriot Act and what has been done here, with Verizon and assuredly with other carriers, is possible under that legislation.  Indeed, one Republican author of the law, who was quoted as saying he didn’t think the Patriot Act would be so used, has, in this frantic little moment of national overstatement, revealed himself to be either a political coward or an incompetent legislator.  He asked for this.  We asked for this.  We did so because we measured the reach and possible overreach of law enforcement against the risks of terrorism and made a conscious choice.

Oh, David Simon, not you too! I’m so surprised to see him on the other side of this. Maybe he should rewatch his own show.

Sunday Afternoon Links: Marx at 193, The Kids Aren’t All Right, The Sixth Season of the Wire, and More

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* ‘Employers have feasted on despair’: The War Against Youth.

In the early 1980s, 3 percent of college grads had had an internship. By 2006, 84 percent had done at least one. Multiple internships are common. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 75 percent of employers prefer students who have interned or had a similar working experience.

There’s some boilerplate tenure bashing in there too, but one can’t have everything.

Marx at 193.

It’s hard not to conclude from these selected sentences that Marx was extraordinarily prescient. He really did have the most astonishing insight into the nature and trajectory and direction of capitalism. Three aspects which particularly stand out here are the tribute he pays to the productive capacity of capitalism, which far exceeds that of any other political-economic system we’ve ever seen; the remaking of social order which accompanies that; and capitalism’s inherent tendency for crisis, for cycles of boom and bust.

* The bomb in the garden: Matthew Butterick on the slow death of the Web.

Someone’s already tweeting—“Butterick is an idiot. He doesn’t know that information wants to be free.” You know, I have heard that. But I also know that 99.99% of people who mention this line forget to talk about the first and last parts of it.

“What? There’s a first and last part?” Yeah, yeah. The whole line goes like this:

“Information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable … On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower … So you have these two fighting against each other.”

* Seconding @BCApplebaum: Washington Post publishes sixth season of The Wire. There really should have been a season devoted to the prison-industrial complex. There’s still time, Simon!

* And a trailer for the indie film version of Mario Brothers. I think I might have linked to this before, but either way I’d watch the hell out of this.

‘Mr. Andrews Killed the Man but Was Haunted by His Question’

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Mr. Andrews was known for drug dealing and audacious robberies in West Baltimore in the 1970s and early ’80s. In September 1986, he agreed to kill a drug dealer for a rival to support his heroin habit. It was his first murder.

“My gun jammed,” Mr. Andrews told The New York Times in 2007. “So the guy was lying on the ground, and it gave him a chance to look me in the eye, and he said, ‘Why?’ ”

New York Times obituary for Donnie Andrews, the inspiration for The Wire‘s Omar Little.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm

His Favorite Show Is ‘The Wire,’ So Of Course Obama Must Prosecute the Drug War with Unrelenting Ferocity

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Social revolutions in a democracy, especially ones that begin with voters, should not be lightly dismissed. Forget all the lame jokes about Cheetos and Cheech and Chong. In the two-and-a-half weeks since a pair of progressive Western states sent a message that arresting 853,000 people a year for marijuana offenses is an insult to a country built on individual freedom, a whiff of positive, even monumental change is in the air.

Timothy Egan: Give Pot a Chance.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm

The Upper Middlebrow

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UPDATE: A Twitter conversation spawned by the article, minus the @_machinic_ quotes that aren’t public that make the stupid thing readable: Twitter v. The Wire v. Climate Change.

The upper middle brow possesses excellence, intelligence, and integrity. It is genuinely good work (as well as being most of what I read or look at myself). The problem is it always lets us off the hook. Like Midcult, it is ultimately designed to flatter its audience, approving our feelings and reinforcing our prejudices. It stays within the bounds of what we already believe, affirms the enlightened opinions we absorb every day in the quality media, the educated bromides we trade on Facebook. It doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know, doesn’t seek to disturb—the definition of a true avant-garde—our fundamental view of ourselves, or society, or the world.

Weekend Links

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* All in the game: 16-bit The Wire.

* Star Trek: Settlers of Catan? Oh, all right. Meanwhile: Michael Dorn Developing Wildly Ill-Conceived Captain Worf TV series.

19th century British slang for “sex.” Via Bitter Laughter.

* Captain Jack Harness is coming to Milwaukee.

* Polls are reporting signs of a big DNC “bounce” for Obama. Meanwhile, Romney’s ad buys suggest he thinks he needs to run the table.

The fresh crop of post-secondary students filing into the classroom this week could be in for a shock when they realize they could be paying for their education an average of 14 years after they graduate.

* Actually existing media bias: Why won’t CNN air its own award-winning documentary on Bahrain?

* Can You Die from a Nightmare?: Life with Night Terrors.

* Cory Doctorow, against science fiction film.

Teletubbies as Radical Utopian Fiction.

* You demanded it, now here it is! A Christmas Story 2. This film looks so terrible it hardly even seems real.

* Secrets of the Avengers!

3. The Hulk has no penis.
They modeled every part of the Hulk, except for one. “When the maquette came in, it’s just a Barbie doll,” said Jason Smith.

* David Foster Wallace in Recovery. Via MeFi. And for all your Infinite Jest needs: Infinite Atlas.

Saturday Links

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* What if every Olympic sport was photographed like beach volleyball?

* The Obama administration said Friday it will begin charging $465 this month for temporary work permits for many young illegal immigrants, as it laid out details of one its signature new policies on immigration.

* Depressingly, Detroit is now stealing plotlines from The Wire.

* Climate Change Is Here — And Worse Than We Thought.

* And the New Republic proves once again it is the absolute worst magazine in the world. When you are tired of Springsteen, you are tired of life…

Friday Night Links

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* So the Romney campaign is imploding earlier than scheduled. Mitt Romney’s unnecessary lie. MeFi. Josh Marshall says we’ll know the story’s really turned when the former chair of the McCain campaign says release the tax records.

* The grammar news is that Dr. Elaine Stotko, from the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, and her student, Margaret Troyer, have discovered that school children in Baltimore are using the slang word yo as a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

* Dan Harmon talks to Marc Maron on Attack of the Show about what the hell happened.

In Hell, “We Shall Be Free”: On Breaking Bad. 

At the heart of the social critique is a question of responsibility for “evil” and where to locate it (even though, of course, none of the series refer to “God” or any religious tradition at all). In The Wire, the responsibility lies with the “game” — the logic of the streets, the logic of politics, the “social facts” that weave an all-encompassing, interconnected web. The Sopranos suggests that the locus of responsibility lies in the unconscious of Tony Soprano; its explanation of “evil” is at heart Freudian. Mad Menlargely evades this question; its driving philosophy has little to do with “moralistic” questions of human responsibility but rather the individual’s abiding unhappiness, and how modern capitalism intensifies it. (That a group of libertarians recently threw a “Mad Men” themed party, unironically championing Don Draper as a hero of better times when corporations weren’t “ashamed” of themselves, only underscores the slippery-ness of Mad Men, the manipulability of its message. That, or these particular libertarians don’t know how to read.)

Within this quartet, Breaking Bad is most similar to The Wire, and indeed is its twin and mirror image. While The Wire explored how the drug trade decimated black urban America, Breaking Bad looks at how drugs infiltrate the other half: suburban white America. A unifying, coherent philosophy is possessed by each, and both execute it propulsively and faithfully. David Simon likened The Wire to a Greek tragedy, by which he meant that sociology is an omnipotent, merciless god that twirls with the fate of mortals. In Breaking Bad the villain is not sociology, but a human being; what destroys the mortals is not a system, but a fellow mortal. This is a human-centered vision of the origin of evil. It is Old Testament at its core.

Just Another Princess Movie.

What Terry Sullivan’s Reinstatement at U. Va Really Tells Us about the Future of Higher Ed.

* The headline reads, “Daniel Tosh Reportedly Scrambling to Find Non-Rape Joke Before New Show Premieres Today.” This story gets worse the deeper you go.

* World War Z fiasco watch: Brad Pitt refuses to speak to the director.

* Should the Nittany Lions get the NCAA “death penalty”? What a horrible mess.

* Is Amazon really going to launch same-day delivery? Sorry, Mom and Pop, but this doesn’t look good.

* And the “worst idea ever put forth by anyone, ever” contest has been reopened in light of the forthcoming Twins sequel.

Last Night Wednesday

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* David Simon unjukes a stat.

* We move more earth and stone than all the world’s rivers. We are changing the chemistry of the atmosphere all life breathes. We are on pace to eat to death half of the other life currently sharing the planet with us. There is nothing on Earth untouched by man — whether it be the soot from fossil fuels darkening polar snows or the very molecules incorporated into a tree trunk. Humanity has become a global force whose exploits will be written in rock for millennia. Welcome to the Anthropocene.

* Via @zunguzungu, who has been all over the UVA story: Wendy Brown on online education.

High quality liberal arts on-line education is not cheap: where it has been modestly successful in providing a decent education, as at the UK’s Open University, it does not break even–far from it. Why? Open University courses are built by teams of researchers, are annually refreshed, and are intensively staffed by high-level academics. OU is an expensive tax-supported operation, designed from the beginning for workers and other students unable to leave homes or jobs to obtain a college education.

* “Julian Assange” is a bit, right? It’s got to be a bit. He wouldn’t be the first person to live for decades in an embassy.

* Why is spam so terrible? A new paper argues it’s a way of weeding out people too smart to fall for spam.

* Poll: Former Supreme Court clerks think the mandate is done for.

* LEGO anatomy. Via Kottke.

* Infinite Jest! Live! On Stage! One Entire Day Only!

* And I must admit, I’m a little verklempt: Life in Hell has finished.

Tuesday Night Links

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* It’s no surprise to see Buffy is the most-studied pop culture text, with The Wire closing fast—but I’m a bit surprised the Alien franchise clocks in at #2 after all this time.

* Additional legal protections for self-defense killings — including the controversial “stand your ground” laws (the subject of new a U.S. Civil Rights Commission Inquiry) — do not deter crime, according to a new study from Texas A&M University examining laws that “widen the scope for the justified use of deadly force in self-defense.” In fact, according to the study’s authors, the laws do the opposite, increasing the chances of murder or manslaughter “by lowering the expected costs associated with using lethal force,” according to the study. “[W]e find the laws increase murder and manslaughter by a statistically significant 7 to 9 percent, which translates into an additional 500 to 700 homicides per year nationally across the states that adopted” such laws, the authors wrote, noting that those could be cases “driven by the escalation of violence in situations that otherwise would not have ended in serious injury for either party.”

* A new analysis of climate data shows that Wisconsin is among a group of states that have warmed faster than other parts of the country over the past four decades.

* Getting out just in time: Romney Retakes The Lead In North Carolina.

* How capitalism impoverishes society, health insurance edition: When Erika Royer’s lupus led to kidney failure four years ago, her father, Radburn, was able to give her an extraordinary gift: a kidney. Ms. Royer, now 31, regained her kidney function, no longer needs dialysis and has been able to return to work. But because of his donation, her father, a physically active 53-year-old, has been unable to obtain private health insurance.

* A little Dad humor: Ten Bets You Will Never Lose.

* And from the I’d-watch-it files: Pixar’s Justice League. In particular the artist really nails Superman; that’s exactly how Pixar’s Superman would look.

Tuesday Morning

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* Well, it certainly doesn’t sound very jubilant: A group of long-term unemployed jobseekers were bussed into London to work as unpaid stewards during the diamond jubilee celebrations and told to sleep under London Bridge before working on the river pageant.

The Wire: The Musical.

* The Watchmen sequel gets meta right off the bat.

André & Maria Jacquemetton talk to Slate about “Commissions & Fees,” while Jared Harris talks to the New York Times. Big spoilers for the most recent episode, naturally.

My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either. 

* Adam Kotsko reviews one of the next books in my increasingly long “free time” reading queue, Red Plenty.

* From the too-good-to-check files: 

A Dutch company has launched a reality television-type project to establish a human settlement on Mars by 2023.

Mars One, as the project is called, aims to bring a total of 40 astronauts to Mars between 2023 and 2033. Organizers say the astronauts will be expected to remain there permanently – “living and working on Mars the rest of their lives.”

Where do we sign up?

* Which Wisconsin? Lorrie Moore in the NYRoB.

 On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court cleared the way for Detroit voters to determine whether or not marijuana should be legal.

* A new study shows “Women earn 91 cents for every dollar men earn—if you control for life choices.” The whole idea of “life choices” is itself essentially an argument-from-privilege, taking male experiences as neutral and unmarked and female experiences as a deviation from the norm—but women earn ten percent less even when you buy that line.

* ‘No surprise at all: ‘stand your ground’ defendants more likely to prevail if the victim is black.’ No one could have predicted!

You already know how a bill becomes a law. Now let’s take a look at how a secret memo becomes a kill list.

* Pittsburgh, before smoke control.

* “Right of conscience” watch: NJ Doctor Would Reportedly Rather Let Patient Die Than Treat Him For ‘Gay Disease.’

* Special pleading watch: I can’t wait to find out why Minnesota’s big shift towards marriage equality doesn’t count as evidence for the bully pulpit, either.

What happens when psychiatric hospitals disappear.

* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal takes an old-school sci-fi glimpse at the future of human evolution.

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