Posts Tagged ‘violence’
* 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.
* Attention, Milwaukee-, Chicago-, and Madison-area graduate students! The Midwest Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference deadline is November 20. The theme this year is “Animacy.”
* Executives Collect $2 Billion Running U.S. For-Profit Colleges. Disruptive! Innovation! Immanentize the eschaton!
* Meanwhile, the federal government is poised to OK pension-looting. How can this be remotely legal? Pensions are delayed compensation. Can your employer give you a “haircut” on your monthly paycheck because they’ve decided they want the money after all?
* Also really good at self-assessment: Last Year President Obama Reportedly Told His Aides That He’s ‘Really Good At Killing People.’ Some instant nostalgia for the 2012 election, Romney-side and Obama-side.
* What was supposed to be a secret letter authored by all sixteen of the current Democratic female senators urging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016 became public this week when Sen. Kay Hagan apparently accidentally mentioned it at an EMILY’s List event.
* The demographics of the NBA. Really interesting stuff.
* I just went and checked the last “lactation station” from the list. Most are locking bathrooms and/or public lounges, but this one is a locked asbestos-containing closet.
* Hottest September On Record, Fastest Pacific Warming In 10,000 Years, Warmest Arctic In 120,000 Years. Probably nothing though.
* 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!
* Who accredits the accreditors? The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday notified the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it is out of compliance in several areas related to its sanctioning of City College. The commission must take “immediate steps” to avert the suspension or termination of its federal recognition as an accrediting body, according to a letter from the department.
During this time, he finds that both gross and net tuition revenue rose by nearly 40% in real, inflation-adjusted terms. How did university administrators decide to spend this money? If you guessed “on hiring lots more underlings, and giving enormous raises to themselves,” you have just won an authentic Gordon Gee bow tie. Gale finds that University president salaries rose by 50%, and total employee compensation went up by 22%, yet full-time instructor salaries (this includes both tenure-track and non-tenure track people) barely rose at all. Indeed the latter category may well have declined if non-full time adjunct faculty had been included.
* How could this BE: Just two and a half months after a historic vote to close 50 schools, Chicago is laying the groundwork to bring more charter schools to the city.
* Google argues that Gmail users have no reasonable expectation of privacy. I bet Gmail users would differ on that.
* Olympics committee says you can’t let a little thing like virulent anti-gay laws get in the way of a good show.
* And what kind of Dungeons and Dragons character would you be? As an academic, of course I came out True Neutral Human Wizard (I mean, I’ve already got the robes). I’d tell you my stats but that would reveal what is apparently a dangerously high opinion of myself.
* When writer AD Harvey invented an 1862 meeting between Dickens and Dostoevsky, it was for years accepted as fact. So why did he do it – and why did he also create a series of fake academic identities? Following up on this classic from the Times Literary Supplement.
* Aaron Carroll draws our attention today to a new study in JAMA that compares American health outcomes with those in other rich countries. Overall, we’re now in 28th place, sandwiched in between Chile and Poland. The massive chart below shows how we do on treating specific diseases. We’re 31st on diabetes, 16th on breast cancer, 32nd on COPD, and (in our best showing) 8th on colon cancer.
* The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change. Finland vs. the U.S., in the Atlantic.
Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment,” is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.
* Drones in Niger. Prison hunger-strikers in California. Food stamps in New Jersey. Violent crime in Milwaukee this year is highest since ’08. Unemployment Rate For Black Women Higher Now Than Four Years Ago.
Saitō ventured a count: There were 1 million people in a state of withdrawal or hikikomori, about one percent of the Japanese population. Eighty percent of them were men; 90 percent were over 18. “Social withdrawal is not some sort of ‘fad’ that will just fade away,” Saitō wrote. It is “a symptom, not the name of an illness,” and “there has been no sign that the number of cases will decrease.” His book became a best seller in weeks. Hikikomori joined otaku (a person with obsessive interests) and karoshi (death from overwork) as a loan word in English to describe a new social phenomenon that at first appeared uniquely Japanese.
Academics who interview graduate school applicants systematically favor thinner candidates, according to a study.
* Local news: U.S. officials in Milwaukee have arrested a cancer researcher from China, Huajun Zhao, 42, on charges of “economic espionage” after a colleague at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCOW) reported that vials of a research compound were missing.
* Nightmares ever-ending: 12 Hurt at New Orleans Mother’s Day Parade Shooting.
* And a data visualization of Game of Thrones. Spoilers through the most recent book, naturally!
“We want to be a leading university, and we wanted to attract faculty who think out of the box, and who are ambitious and creative,” said Ghazi Darkazalli, vice president of academic affairs. “We don’t want them to be worrying within the first five or six years whether they’re going to be tenured or not.”
Far better for them to spend those five or six years trying to get a TT job at another school.
* In practice, however, that doesn’t happen. The scholarships go towards “merit aid”, which is often, dismayingly enough, a polite way of saying that the college is helping to pay for wealthy kids to attend, even if they’re not particularly smart. Some 20% of students with GPAs below 2.0, for instance, receive merit aid. And at the same time, the “need aid” is carefully calibrated so that poor kids won’t take the colleges up on their offers… See also: Colleges Soak Poor U.S. Students as Aid Funneled to Rich.
* Food service workers in St. Louis have gone on strike. So might adjuncts in Chicago. Amazon workers sue over mandatory post-shift search. Cooper Union Students Occupy President’s Office To Protest Tuition.
* “Demolishing the Competition: The Longitudinal Link Between Competitive Video Games, Competitive Gambling, and Aggression,” a new study that will appear in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, found that aggressive behavior is tied to competition, not violence, in videogames and gambling, according to Forbes.
* Here’s another example — I’ve watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (several times) and I never noticed that Riker doesn’t know how to use a chair. When the guy sits down he pulls the chair back and dramatically slings his leg over the back of it like he’s mounting a freakin’ horse. He apparently does this all the time, regardless of the situation. It’s nuts.
* Lucas wanted Indiana Jones 2 to be a dinosaur movie. I honestly can’t decide if this is the best or the worst idea I’ve ever heard.
1. Increase the starting salary for a three-credit semester course to a minimum of $5,000 for all instructors in higher education.
2. Ensure academic freedom by providing progressively longer contracts for all contingent instructors who have proven themselves during an initial probationary period.
3. Provide health insurance for all instructors, either through their college’s health insurance system or through the Affordable Care Act.
4. Support the quality education of our students by providing their instructors with necessary office space, individual development support, telephones, email accounts and mail boxes.
5. Guarantee fair and equitable access to unemployment benefits when college instructors are not working.
6. Guarantee eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all college instructors who have taught for ten years, during which they were repaying their student loans.
7. With or without a time-in service requirement, allow all college teachers to vote and hold office in institutional governance, including faculty senates and academic departments.
* There were a few radical writers like Tom Paine who did use the word “democracy” from early on, but the first official use was by Jefferson and Madison when they founded the “Democratic Republican” party — which is clearly just some sort of PR trick, since Jefferson himself never uses the word “democracy” at all in his own writings. But the person who really transformed the language was Andrew Jackson. He ran as a “democrat” and it was so effective that over the course of the 1830s, everyone started calling themselves that. So basically the Republican system that was set up to contain democracy itself got renamed “Democracy.” Interview with David Graeber on Democracy in America.
For the prison to close, lawmakers would have to lift a ban on transferring prisoners to the United States. But it was good that Mr. Obama also pledged to “examine every option that we have administratively” — because there are steps he could take without Congress.
* Interactive infographic at the New York Times shows long-term Democratic hegemony (at least at the presidential level) given most demographic assumptions.
* In case you missed it last night: “Some Preliminary Theses on MOOCs.”
* New York Times editorial: The Trouble with Online College.
A five-year study, issued in 2011, tracked 51,000 students enrolled in Washington State community and technical colleges. It found that those who took higher proportions of online courses were less likely to earn degrees or transfer to four-year colleges. The reasons for such failures are well known. Many students, for example, show up at college (or junior college) unprepared to learn, unable to manage time and having failed to master basics like math and English.
* The problem isn’t the idea of a postdoc, Stephan said, but the way that position has evolved as so many more people end up in the role. “Ostensibly the postdoctoral scholar is to train someone to be a researcher, and an independent researcher,” Stephan said. “Putting people into postdoctoral positions is great training if they are going to go on and use that training,” she said. But increasingly a postdoc doesn’t lead (certainly not quickly) to an independent, tenure-track position, Stephan said. And postdocs are being used, not trained, she said. “Postdocs have become cheap staff scientists,” she said.
JT: The pope simply felt that he didn’t have the physical strength to carry out the duties of the papacy in the modern age. He has clearly grown frailer in recent months, but I think Benedict probably had this in mind from the beginning of his pontificate. He, along with others in the church, watched Pope John Paul II struggle with illness right up until the end, and I’m sure he felt that was a great witness to the value of suffering. But I’m also sure Pope Benedict saw the dangers of a moribund pope who might linger in office for years. He wanted to break the taboo against resignation, and I think it sets a precedent that will alter the way the church looks at the papacy. For one thing, the cardinals who come together to elect his successor may well look to someone younger, knowing that resignation is an option.
* Is there another developed nation that has a standing monument to a dictator, built by the forced labor of the defeated? Letter from Madrid.
* And Mississippi bans slavery a mere 148 years late. At that point, my impulse really would have been to pretend I sent the email. Oh, you didn’t get our ratification of the 13th Amendment? Oh no! Let me send it again…
* It’s damn cold in Chicago: water is freezing to the sides of burning buildings.
- According to this link (which has information I cannot independently verify), the athletic budget for 2011 was $16 million, a 9.2% increase over the previous year. $9 million of that budget came from student fees.
- The reduction in faculty is expected to save $5.2 million.
* Lynda Barry’s course at the University of Wisconsin. I should be taking this.
* Liberal pundits and Republican congressmen agree: Barack Obama’s second inaugural was the most liberal speech of his presidency. They may be right. But just what kind of liberalism is this?
Obama’s speech was a far cry from the message of the modern Republican Party. But much of it would fit snugly in a handbook from Human Relations: Discrimination will not be tolerated. Active citizenship is everyone’s responsibility. Work harder.
* Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. Would he, though? Would he really?
* Cheat to win: Virginia wants to rig the Electoral College too.
In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state…
It’s also worth noting, again, that this constitutes a massive disenfranchisement of African American and other nonwhite voters, who tend to cluster near urban areas. When you couple this with the move on Monday to redraw the state’s electoral maps — eliminating one state senate district and packing black voters into another, diluting their strength — it’s as if Virginia Republicans are responding to Obama’s repeat victory in the state by building an electoral facsimile of Jim Crow.
* Brain scans performed on five former NFL players revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players. The impending death of pro football. See also: Junior Seau’s Family Is Suing The NFL.
* There’s a gold rush going on right now. Man is breaking the earth, looking for natural gas — just as we always have. It’s a mad scene, with hucksters on every side of the issue. And that’s just on the surface. You won’t believe what’s happening underground. Thank You for Fracking.
* Rejected movie ideas: Age-Reversed Home Alone Reboot.
* Internet argument perfect storm: The woman who hired a hitman to murder her abusive husband.
* War machine decides blood is blood: Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat.
* And from the too-good-to-check file: The Fascinating Business Cards of 20 Famous People.
* The Center for 21st Century Studies has announced its postdoc theme for 2013-2014: “Changing Climates.” Applications due March 1.
* What’s coming out with this UNC rape case is astounding. UNC’s Former Dean of Students Says She Was Forced to Underreport Sexual Assault Cases. And then this, from the assistant vice underprovost of sickening analogies:
“When I went to report my assault in 2007, I asked an administrator what the process would look like,” Clark said. “Instead, that person told me, ‘Rape is like a football game, Annie. If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?’”
* Being Married Helps Professors Get Ahead, but Only if They’re Male: A new study of history professors shows that married men get promoted faster than their single colleagues, while the opposite is true for women.
* The union at Kalamazoo Valley Community College launches a food drive for its own adjuncts.
* “Fear and loathing in academia” and “Some historical notes on the decline of the universities,” from anthropologies issue 16: The Neoliberalized, Debt-plagued, Low Wage, Corporatized University. Also: Passing with Pills: Redefining Performance in the Pharmaceuticalized University.
* As I say, I have no dog in this race, except a belief that no one, in this sea of riches, should have to be poor. But staring dumbfounded at the lessons unlearned in Britain, Europe and the United States, it strikes me that the entire structure of neoliberal thought is a fraud. The demands of the ultra-rich have been dressed up as sophisticated economic theory and applied regardless of the outcome. The complete failure of this world-scale experiment is no impediment to its repetition. This has nothing to do with economics. It has everything to do with power.
* Theater of Pain: Tom Junod on injury in the NFL.
The perspective of pain is what this story is about. For fans, injuries are like commercials, the price of watching the game as well as harrowing advertisements for the humanity of the armored giants who play it. For gamblers and fantasy-football enthusiasts, they are data, a reason to vet the arcane shorthand (knee, doubtful) of the injury report the NFL issues every week; for sportswriters they are kernels of reliable narrative. For players, though, injuries are a day-to-day reality, indeed both the central reality of their lives and an alternate reality that turns life into a theater of pain. Experienced in public and endured almost entirely in private, injuries are what players think about and try to put out of their minds; what they talk about to one another and what they make a point to suffer without complaint; what they’re proud of and what they’re ashamed by; what they are never able to count and always able to remember
* Rules for kids: The book, discovered by a 20-year-old Walmart employee, Raymond Flores, became an Internet sensation after Flores contacted the media to try to find its owner and its touching rules - including the rules “Don’t bite the dentist” and “If you’re going to wet your bed, wear a pull-up” - went viral.
* Two years before his death, legendary science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov kicked off a TV pilot dedicated to exploring the faint and ever-shifting boundary separating science from science fiction.
* And Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, on robots.
But the fact that football’s greatest brutalities are hidden from view is one reason why the game appears likely to survive whatever publicity blows result from its violent nature. We have come to acknowledge the problems with hits to the head delivered on crossing receivers blindsided by onrushing missiles, and generally accept the penalties that are now being given for those hits and impacting games. We have even begun to recognize the struggles in the trenches, where collisions between large men and their helmets occur on almost every play. But it is still difficult to comprehend everything that goes on behind the scenes in the N.F.L. It’s a camera-ready game, one that appears better on television than any other sport, and one that will attract a hundred million viewers for its championship in three weeks. Those hoping to continue watching with a clean conscience may be thankful there are no cameras in the dungeon.
I was talking with Traxus the other day about how slave rebellions mark an interesting difference between knowledge and belief. Everybody who is historically informed knows slave revolts happened, and moreover is perfectly eager to say so—but all the same nobody believes in them. They exist in history only to be bracketed: “Of course, there were slave rebellions, but…”
Two reviews of Django Unchained take this up. First, the New Yorker:
It is precisely because of the extant mythology of black subservience that these scenes pack such a cathartic payload. The film’s defenders are quick to point out that “Django” is not about history. But that’s almost like arguing that fiction is not reality—it isn’t, but the entire appeal of the former is its capacity to shed light on how we understand the latter. In my sixteen years of teaching African-American history, one sadly common theme has been the number of black students who shy away from courses dealing with slavery out of shame that slaves never fought back.
It seems almost pedantic to point out that slavery was nothing like this. The slaveholding class existed in a state of constant paranoia about slave rebellions, escapes, and a litany of more subtle attempts to undermine the institution. Nearly two hundred thousand black men, most of them former slaves, enlisted in the Union Army in order to accomplish en masse precisely what Django attempts to do alone: risk death in order to free those whom they loved. Tarantino’s attempt to craft a hero who stands apart from the other men—black and white—of his time is not a riff on history, it’s a riff on the mythology we’ve mistaken for history.
It’s a shame, because the history of North Atlantic slave revolts offers up a lot of interesting material. Try this: “For our declaration of independence, we should have the skin of a white man for parchment, his skull for an inkwell, his blood for ink, and a bayonet for a pen.” That’s Boisrond-Tonerre, Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ aide. Tarantino certainly couldn’t write that.
The violence and rights abridgments of the Bush and Obama administrations have been applied almost exclusively to Muslims. It is, therefore, Muslims who have been systematically dehumanized. Americans virtually never hear about the Muslims killed by their government’s violence. They’re never profiled. The New York Times doesn’t put powerful graphics showing their names and ages on its front page. Their funerals are never covered. President Obama never deliversteary sermons about how these Muslim children “had their entire lives ahead of them – birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” That’s what dehumanization is: their humanity is disappeared so that we don’t have to face it.