Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘war

Thank God It’s Thanksgiving Week Links

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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.

Toxic Lakes From Tar-Sand Projects Planned for Alberta.

The Insanity of Our Food Policy.

India Confronts the Politics of the Toilet.

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.

Hyperemployment, or the Exhausting Work of the Technology User. Via this piece on the culture of overwork in academia.

* Creatin’ a legal marijuana economy ain’t easy.

* No war in Iran? Unhappy warmongers, just pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off, and try again next decade.

The Long Shadow of Chinese Blacklists on American Academe.

* MetaFilter post on the only musical I ever need to see: Fun Home: The Musical.

Bill de Blasio gives cold shoulder to education reformers as he prepares to choose a chancellor.

* And did I do this one already? An Upworthy Generator. Now you can be inspired by heartwarming stories on your own timetable…

Even More Wednesday Links!

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* Humanities instrumentalism we can believe in: Why do we need the liberal arts? Because it gives us sci-fi.

If the criterion for funding areas of study must be that they add to American wealth and competitiveness, then I’d like to offer my own only half-unserious case for the liberal arts. I propose that they should survive, and thrive, because they give us science fiction, and science fiction creates jobs and makes us rich.

The summit, billed as “Organizing Resistance Against Teach for America and its Role in Privatization,” is being organized by a committee of scholars, parents, activists, and current corps members. Its mission is to challenge the organization’s centrality in the corporate-backed, market-driven, testing-oriented movement in urban education. 

* The Decline of North Carolina.

* The New Yorker profiles Desert Bus, deliberately the worst video game ever made, and the charity that has sprung up around it, Desert Bus for Hope.

* Tenure-track professors on food stamps at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

* Gasp! For-profit education investing in Coursera.

Tourism’s real roots do not lie in pilgrimage (or even in «fair» trade), but in war. Rape and pillage were the original forms of tourism, or rather, the first tourists followed directly in the wake of war, like human vultures picking over battlefield carnage for imaginary booty—for images.

Tourism arose as a symptom of an Imperial­ism that was total—economic, political, and spiritual.

Almost every party, gender, income, education, age and income group regards Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. The lone exception is black voters, with 43 percent calling him a traitor and 42 percent calling him a whistle-blower. 

Obama’s ‘Insider Threat Program’: A Parody of Liberal Faith in Bureaucrats. If only this program had some historical parallel we could point to to illustrate its potential dangers!

In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for “high-risk persons or behaviors” among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.

* After the death of the desktop, the death of the laptop? I am quite fond of my iPad, but I can’t imagine relying on it alone…

Even More Tuesday Links

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* “More toyetic”: The cast and crew of Batman and Robin explain what went wrong.

* Preposterously bad idea watch: Breaking Bad Spin-Off With Saul Goodman In The Works. Has to be a very dry joke on Vince Gilligan’s part.

* What is the political situation in the Mario universe? It is a never-ending condition of war within and war without, fraught and constantly changing as one faction or another vies for control, riven along racial and ideological fault-lines and held together only by the intervention of foreign interlopers, propping up the dominant superpower and whose ultimate motivations are shrouded in secrecy.

* Kim Stanley Robinson on postcapitalism.

A much larger revenue stream comes from federal student loans—$108,641,000 in 2011. In 2010, NYU had $659 million in total student debt, a figure bigger than the gross domestic product of twelve countries, and it is a national leader in the debt carried by its graduates, at 40 percent more than the national average. According a recent Newsweek ranking, NYU is now the fourth “Least Affordable School” in the United States. And in the latest Princeton Review college rankings, its financial aid and administration ranked first—for being the worst. The projected $5 billion expansion plan is certain to increase the student debt burden. Most of current student loans are federal money, so we can add these on to the public inputs received by this private university at a time when public universities are being put to the sword.

For Full-Time Instructors, Work Off the Tenure Track Has Become Its Own Career.

Reframing the statement “don’t go to graduate school” to one that fully addresses the attack on tenure helps us to see and recognize each other, and our labor. I think it also helps us to identify new partners who might be able and interested in challenging or modulating some of the forces at work in educational restructuring.

* Rebecca Schuman responds to her critics, and a critic responses to the response.

* North Carolina seeks to criminalize muckraking of animal abuse while doing nothing about animal abuse. Outstanding.

Guess Who Waits Longest to Vote? You’ll never guess!

Authorities are still investigating how the younger child obtained the .22-caliber rifle: New Jersey 4-year-old shoots 6-year-old neighbor in the head.

Ringling Bros. Elephant Shot in Mississippi Drive-By.

Rehtaeh Parsons’s story.

* Taxodus: the tax avoidance game.

Why Bitcoin “millionaires” could accidentally become tax felons.

* And I think I remember this movie: Lockheed Martin Harnesses Quantum Technology.

Saturday!

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A study released last week by researchers at Harvard and Stanford quantified what everyone in my hometown already knew: even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges. The vast majority, the study found, do not even try. For deans of admissions brainstorming what they can do to remedy this, might I suggest: anything.

The cost of a four-year university degree for a child born in 2013 could rise to more than $140,000 due to tuition inflation, a new study says.

* On majoring in English.

Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.

Why You Should Be More Concerned About War With North Korea This Time.

Why Marvel’s making 2 different versions of Iron Man 3. 

What Kansas Basketball Star Ben McLemore Can Teach America About Poverty.

McLemore is months from being able to fully leave that past behind, a from-the-gutters-to-greatness success story that is so often repeated in sports.

Of course, as LGM notes, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be being paid now.

* The Big Picture visits the 70s.

You didn’t make the Harlem Shake go viral—corporations did.

* And some more great anamorphic street art from Felice Varini.

"Dix-sept cercles oranges excentriques"

Monday Night Links

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Accreditor Recommends Probation for University of Phoenix.

* The Oscar’s Hostile, Ugly, Sexist Night. Why Seth MacFarlane’s Misogyny Matters. Fantasy Fans: Where’s Your Outrage? There are no three-way mirrors in Hollywood. Seth MacFarlane, misogynistic Oscar host. The End of Men Oscars. The thing about being a little black girl in the world. The long death of the middle-brow. The Onion offers a rare apology.

* State of the Industry, Part II: And the Winner Is… The State!

* College Rape Survivor Faces Potential Expulsion For ‘Intimidating’ Her Rapist.

* Art Spiegelman offers up a secret history of Garbage Pail Kids.

Django Unchained: A White Revenge Fantasy. Django Unchained, or, The Help: How “Cultural Politics” Is Worse Than No Politics at All, and Why.

* More on AMC’s planned adaptation of The Sparrow.

Bork: Nixon Offered Me SCOTUS Seat for Firing Archibald Cox.

Arrested Development Not Getting Second Netflix Season.

* Post-work: A guide for the perplexed.

* The academic jobs beat: The Cost of The Job Application Process.

* I think I might have done this one already, but regardless: meet the handful of countries Britain’s never invaded.

Keystone XL Decision Will Define Barack Obama’s Climate Legacy.

* Antimonies of Philip Roth.

* And Pynchon’s next.

The novel, set in 2001, takes place in “the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11,” Penguin said in a release announcing its 2012 results.

Weekend Links

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* CFP: Midwest Modern Language Association 2013 on Art & Artifice, November 7-10. Right here in Milwaukee!

* A disturbing catch from the MetaFilter thread on MOOCs: Obama has quietly decoupled Pell grants from accreditation, opening the door for full-throated neoliberal profiteering.

Last year, similar language tying federal aid to “value” was explicitly limited to a group of relatively minor aid programs. The Pell grant and loan programs that make up $140 billion in annual aid were excluded. No such restrictions appear here (although the President did refer to only “certain types” of aid in the speech itself.) But the real kicker is at the end: a new, alternative system of accreditation that would provide pathways for higher education models and colleges to receive federal student aid based on performance and results.

The existing accreditation club has been around since the end of the 19th century. It has had an exclusive franchise on determining federal financial aid eligibility since the middle of the 20th century. Opening a new doorway to the Title IV financial aid system would be an enormouschange, particularly when coupled with the phrase “higher education models and colleges.” The clear implication is that the higher education models that would eligible for federal financial aid through the alternate accreditation system wouldn’t have to be colleges at all. They could be any providers of higher education that meet standards of “performance and results.”

MOOCiversity, ho!

Think about it: When was the last time a college or university president produced an edgy piece of commentary, or took a daring stand on a contentious matter? 

* Disaster capitalism, Chicago style.

There aren’t any hurricanes in the Midwest, so how can proponents of privatization like Mayor Rahm Emanuel sell off schools to the highest bidder?

They create a crisis.

The Drone Industry Wants a Makeover. Dissent on drones.

* Malcolm Harris explains yellowism.

* The delightfully named Ben Kafka explains bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy, Kafka argues, can be everybody’s enemy, and can thus serve as the organizing principle for otherwise untenable alliances, like the one between eighteenth-century liberals and democrats, or between some contemporary working-class voters and the neoliberal elites they vote for. Sowing contempt for bureaucracy, in the form of lambasting all government efforts as inherently inefficient, full of “lazy” and “parasitical” civil servants and their “bloated” pensions, remains a potent tactic of right-wing populism, but whereas conservatives of old evoked a nostalgic class paternalism to cure paperwork’s ills, the American Right offers a myth of self-sufficiency, of everyone for themselves, with no claims to be filed and no burdens to be shared. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, comes to stand for the inevitable outcome of all types of collective power, the emblem of neutered individualism. And since paperwork is an evil that proliferates no matter what the form of government, it can seem irrelevant to mount any political fights to reform it. Politics is thus reduced to the pettiness of sorting out strictly personal grievances, which in turn worsens bureaucracy, as these sorts of selfish claims are precisely what bureaucracy exists to process.

* Duke professor proposes that students be required to produce a video summary of the dissertation. I actually think this kind of distillation can be really useful and productive — someone once told me you know you’re done with your dissertation when you can summarize its argument in one sentence — but making it an actual requirement is silly.

North Carolina is the only state that will clearly mark all people who are not U.S. citizens – everyone from business executives with “green cards” to students on visas – with a newly designed driver’s license coming this summer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks legislation in all the states. History contains absolutely no examples of times when this kind of thinking has ever gone wrong, so I’m sure it’s a really good idea.

In other words, in the midst of a major national debate over America’s finances, 90% of Americans are wrong about the one basic detail that probably matters most in the conversation, while only 6% – 6%! – are correct.

A cottage at 71/2 West End Court in Long Branch where one-time renter Bruce Springsteen wrote “Born to Run” is up for sale for $349,900, said real estate agent Susan McLaughlin of Keller Williams Realty. Anyone want to go halfsies?

World Press Photo Of The Year: Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by and Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put into intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

* Even Megan McArdle has stopped believing in meritocracy.

* And io9 on how your favorite cancelled science fiction series would have continued. Start your FlashForward fan fics now…

Tuesday!

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* Great research opportunity for any PhD student studying science fiction, fantasy, horror, and/or utopia: the R.D. Mullen Fellowship. I loved the time I spent in that archive.

* CFP: The cultural impact of Dr. Who, at DePaul University. Saturday, May 4.

* Sarah Jaffe on emotional labor and gendered employment.

On Getting a Ph.D. This is stirring, but all the same my unhappy advice hasn’t really changed since the last time a rebuttal to the just-don’t-go doomsayers was making the rounds.

* Now CUNY is pushing for a five-year Ph.D. I still feel the same way about this, too!

* “Skilled, Cheap, and Desperate”: Non-tenure-track Faculty and the Delusion of Meritocracy.

* …But the most unfortunate part is that not one of the expert-amateurs seems to have given much thought to what MOOCs imply: that teachers are unnecessary. MOOCs don’t use teachers; they have curriculum designers and they have video presenters. Actors are the best for that latter role, seriously.

The latest on Pat McCrory’s war with UNC.

“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine. Go to a private school, and take it,” McCrory said. “But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

Again, I’d personally be very surprised if those gender studies classes weren’t paying for themselves and more.

College majors, median earnings, and unemployment.

Yale Suing Former Students Shows Crisis in Loans to Poor.

* Where Girls Do Better Than Boys in Science.

girls-lead-in-science-exam-but-not-in-the-united-states

* The wisdom of the market, in all its glorious efficiency: Confessions of a corporate spy.

* On corporate apology.

* We’re a tour group from the future.

* California’s coming war over fracking.

* Over the last three months wind farms produced more electricity than any other power source in Spain for the first time ever, an industry group has said. To steal a line from Twitter: oh, if only we had wind!

Six media giants control 90% of popular culture.

* Veterans, Ron D. Moore, and Battlestar Galactica: 1, 2. A representative, evocative question:

ES: There’s a particular quote that I’ve seen as signatures in military forums or quoted, and for some reason military members identify it. That’s Tigh’s New Caprica silioquoy: “Which side are we on? We’re on the side of the demons, chief. We’re evil men in the gardens of paradise, sent by the forces of death to spread devastation and destruction wherever we go. I’m surprised you didn’t know that.” Why do you think that quote resonates with veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq in particular?

Parts 3 and 4 coming soon.

* The latest from Randall Munroe’s “What If?”: Will the Internet ever surpass FedEx’s bandwidth? What would happen if you tried to fly a normal Earth airplane above different Solar System bodies? What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool?

“Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump’s birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan,” Balber wrote in the letter.

* Personal saint Woody Guthrie’s previously unpublished novel House of Earth is available for purchase.

* Special pleading watch: nearly all of the 600 recess appointments since the Reagan presidency would have been nullified if the hyperformalist interpretation applied to Barack Obama were applied universally.

* We should only work 25 hours a week, argues professor. Sold!

* Some local pride! Milwaukee in top ten list for best urban forests.

* And congrats to our friend Allison Seay for a great review of her new collection To See the Queen. Some excerpts.

Lots of Wednesday Links

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* It’s damn cold in Chicago: water is freezing to the sides of burning buildings.

* The reality of being an adjunct. MOOCs for Credit. Why We Should Talk About the Football Coach’s Salary When Faculty are Let Go. Please consider not doing a PhD.

  • 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.

U.S. scientists will retire most research chimps.

House Republican Leader Blames Gun Violence On ‘Welfare Moms.’

* Searching for Star Wars artifacts in the California desert.

* Rejected movie ideas: Age-Reversed Home Alone Reboot.

* Internet argument perfect storm: The woman who hired a hitman to murder her abusive husband.

* Happy Objectify A Man in Tech Day.

* Supreme Court upholds radical notion that the Environmental Protection Agency has the right to protect the environment.

* Loyalty oaths in Arizona high schools.

How it feels to be stalked.

* War machine decides blood is blood: Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat.

* The LA that never was.

* And from the too-good-to-check file: The Fascinating Business Cards of 20 Famous People.

martin2

President Obama’s Second Inaugural Was Supposed to Sound Something like Lincoln’s

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President Obama’s second inaugural was supposed to sound something like Lincoln’s: the speech of a man tired of war, and eager to move the nation beyond its bloody reach. In truth, it was the speech of a man who has perfected a form of war that can be written off as a kind of peace. He was able to put the pain of war in the past because his efforts to expand painless war have come to fruition. At Esquire, Tom Junod follows up “The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama” in light of his second inaugural address.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

Thursday Night

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Any guild with half an ounce of integrity would be marching in the streets if their employers made that kind of threat to open up their market to all comers. We professors, on the other hand, have to navel gaze about the implications of our own obsolescence before anyone chooses to lift a finger. If there really are only ten universities in twenty years and that Ph.D. of yours ends up as a really expensive wall hanging, don’t say you weren’t warned. The professoriate is the worst guild ever.

As with discourse about climate change policy, the persistence of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other forms of argument about the value of officially sanctioned torture represents a victory for those who would justify such abuse. Zero Dark Thirty has performed no public service by enlarging the acceptability of that form of debate. Sounds like it was good enough even-the-liberal Jon Stewart.

After complaining for weeks that the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” erroneously implies that torture yielded key information in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, a trio of senior senators now want to know whether CIA personnel deliberately misled the filmmakers on that point.

Wanted: Tenure-track professor of political science specializing in constitutional law to teach four courses per semester. Juris doctor degree highly desirable. Occasional weight-lifting required.

* Social Text forum on cruel optimism.

* Hitting Peak Topsoil.

* Obama has aged fifteen years in four.

* Via my friend @DanHF: a celebration of Tarantino’s Death Proof.

* And who had Mali in the places-to-invade-next pool? You’ve won some exciting violence.

And Even More Monday Links

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Friday Night Links, Special ‘Jesus Year’ Edition

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Monday Morning Links

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* Scenes from the class struggle at CUNY.

* Quiggin’s Razor: If we started any analysis of international relations with the assumption that war will end badly for all concerned, and that the threat of war will probably lead to war sooner or later, we would be right most of the time. Via Kevin Drum.

* The Real Petraeus Scandal: the compelled veneration of all things military. Via LGM. See also Spencer Ackerman: How I Was Drawn Into the Cult of David Petraeus.

* The New Yorker notices that it won’t be long before Texas will be a swing state.

“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat,” he said. “If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won’t be talking about Ohio, we won’t be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won’t matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can’t get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grandkids would study how this used to be a national political party. ‘They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.’ ”

The Republican Party’s electoral map problem.

But even in that silver lining for Republicans, you can see clouds. Arizona and Georgia, both of which Romney carried in 2012, gained seats in 2010 because of fast population growth, but Democratic dominance among Hispanic voters in each is expected to make them potential swing states in 2016 and 2020.

Their Southern politicians problem. The Washington Post‘s lengthy election post-mortem. Politico just can’t imagine where the GOP could be getting all its terrible journalism. Perhaps it will always be a mystery. Tom Tomorrow gets in on the action. “We Just Had a Clas War and One Side Won.” Worst class war ever.

Young voters turned the tide for Brown’s Prop 30.

Walmart Black Friday Strike Being Organized Online For Stores Across U.S. I’m staying home that day because I hate Black Friday and everything it represents in solidarity.

Hurricane Sandy and the Disaster-Preparedness Economy.

It’s all part of what you might call the Mad Max Economy, a multibillion-dollar-a-year collection of industries that thrive when things get really, really bad. Weather radios, kerosene heaters, D batteries, candles, industrial fans for drying soggy homes — all are scarce and coveted in the gloomy aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and her ilk.

* In the winter of 1955, the editors of a newly launched magazine called Sports Illustrated sent William Faulkner to watch an ice hockey game between the New York Rangers and the Montreal Canadiens.

* And Being Elmo makes Kevin Clash out to be a living saint. I hope his version of events turns out to be true. As someone just tweeted at me, I’m probably going to hell for even linking this story at all.

Tuesday Links

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* David Graeber teaches my superheroes module in one long go at the New Inquiry.

Affirmative action and the fantasy of “merit” comes to the Supreme Court. Buckle up.

* The wisdom of markets: Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week.

The main victim of the ongoing crisis is thus not capitalism, which appears to be evolving into an even more pervasive and pernicious form, but democracy — not to mention the left, whose inability to offer a viable global alternative has again been rendered visible to all. It was the left that was effectively caught with its pants down. It is almost as if this crisis were staged to demonstrate that the only solution to a failure of capitalism is more capitalism.

* Annals of Canadian crime: Canada cheese-smuggling ring busted – policeman charged.  Maple syrup seized in N.B. may have been stolen in Quebec.

* Illiteracy and Star Wars.

* Obama makes a strong pitch for my particular demographic.

* Are drones illegal? Well, we’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality, so…

* Let six-year-olds vote: Afghan war enters twelfth year. And onward! And onward!

* The maintenance of civil order in society rests on the foundation of family discipline. Therefore, a child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society in a way that gives an example to all other children of the importance of respect for parents. The death penalty for rebellioius children is not something to be taken lightly. The guidelines for administering the death penalty to rebellious children are given in Deut 21:18-21… You know what? Let me stop you right there.

* “Man who defaced Tate Modern’s Rothko canvas says he’s added value.” And he’s probably right!

* Community not coming back on schedule is/is not a catastrophe. I’ll just go ahead and assume that they need more time to bring Dan Harmon back.

* Louie on hiatus until 2014.

* Why do Venezulans keep reelecting Hugo Chávez?

To understand why Chávez’s electoral victory would be apparent beforehand, consider that from 1980 to 1998, Venezuela’s per capita GDP declined by 14%, whereas since 2004, after the Chávez administration gained control over the nation’s oil revenues, the country’s GDP growth per person has averaged 2.5% each year.

At the same time, income inequality was reduced to the lowest in Latin America, and a combination of widely shared growth and government programs cut poverty in half and reduced absolute poverty by 70%—and that’s before accounting for vastly expanded access to health, education, and housing.

Oh.

The Rise and Fall of the Cincinnati Boner King.

Admitting that scientists demonstrate gender bias shouldn’t make us forget that other kinds of bias exist, or that people other than scientists exhibit them. In a couple of papers (one, two), Katherine Milkman, Modupe Akinola, and Dolly Chugh have investigated how faculty members responded to email requests from prospective students asking for a meeting. The names of the students were randomly shuffled, and chosen to give some implication that the students were male or female, and also whether they were Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese.

Campus officer kills naked freshman at University of South Alabama.

* The Ohio Statue University marching band pays tribute to video games.

* Johnny works in a factory. Billy works downtown. / Terry works in a rock and roll band looking for that million dollar sound. / Got a job down in Darlington. Some nights I don’t go. / Some nights I go to the drive in. Some night I stay home. On “The Promise.”

* digby imagines what would happen if we tried to ban lead today.

* Like Darth Vader at the end of JediRidley Scott ends his career a hero.

* Behind the Scenes of the Planet of the Apes.

* And get ready for competing Moby Dick projects! Who says Hollywood is out of ideas?

Thursday Night Links

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* I just about lost my mind over this George Packer endorsement of Obama’s foreign policy on Twitter this morning.

Foreign policy exactly suits Obama’s strong points as a leader, which turn out not to be giving the masses a clear sense of direction and hope, but instead exercising good judgment on a case-by-case basis while thinking many steps ahead of the present moment. Often, foreign policy—which by definition is largely out of American control—is simply a matter of not doing the wrong thing, the unwise thing. On that count, I trust Obama more than any politician in my lifetime.

I mean really.

* Then I just about lost my mind over this article in the afternoon: No money for forced sterilization victims in NC. 1974? That was ages ago! We have to look forward, not backward, etc, etc…

In the official view of the Obama administration, it’s totally possible that the drone that killed Anwar al-Awlaki was owned and operated by the Yemen government.

* Romney to Republican governors: Don’t mention the recovery. Josh Marshall and TPM try to game this out. I like Ed Kilgore’s take: Scott’s taking credit for a trend he’s had almost nothing to do with, and Romney wants him to shut up about the trend itself. It’s an attempted lie chasing the tail of an actual lie.

* [Christie] looks at me like I’m from France. “No one is beyond the reach of Bruce!” he screams over the noise of the crowd, and then screams it again, to make sure I understand: “No one is beyond the reach of Bruce!”

Why NASA Should Nab an Asteroid.

* Sad White Babies With Mean Feminist Mommies.

* Colorado Marijuana Legalization Amendment 64 Leads 46% to 42%.

* Viral marketing for 2312? Mickey Mouse on Mercury.

* Scientists are hard at work trying to figure out some way to make football remotely safe.

* And because it’s summertime: Bricking Bad, A Breaking Bad LEGO Meth Lab.

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