Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Amendment One

Durham after the Amendment

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Written by gerrycanavan

May 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

Tons of Weekend Links

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* “Austerity is not inevitable”: France falls to the Red Menace.

* Podcast of the weekend: Global science fiction on WorldCanvass, with Brooks Landon, Rob Latham, Istvan Csicsery-Ronay, and others.

* Charlie Stross prophesies the death of science fiction.

But anyway, to summarize: my point is that our genre sits uneasily within boundaries delineated by the machinery of sales. And that creaking steam-age machinery is currently in the process of being swapped out for some kind of irridescent, gleaming post-modern intrusion from the planet internet. New marketing strategies become possible, indeed, become essential. And the utility of the old signifiers—the rocket ship logo on the spine of the paperback—diminish in the face of the new (tagging, reader recommendations, “if you liked X you’ll love Y” cross-product correlations by sales engines, custom genre-specific cover illustrations, and so on).

* Tom Hayden remembers the Port Huron Statement (or at least the compromise second draft).

* Joe Biden endorses marriage equality for about fifteen minutes.

Black Studies Hitpiece Leads to Chronicle of Higher Ed Twitter Trainwreck. Why Is the Chronicle of Higher Education Publishing A Racist Hack? Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies. The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject. Anti-intellectualism, déjà vu.

When copyright term-extension meets infinite life-extension.

* A tribute to Disneyland’s secret restroom.

* Connecticut continues its recent spate of being decent its citizens, legalizes medical medicine.

* Stand for your ground: A Florida woman faces prison after firing a warning shot to scare off an abusive husband.

* Nerds assemble! Joss Whedon finally made something everybody likes. An interview. Another. Whedon on Batman. Whedon on Wonder Woman.

* The Avengers: Will superhero movies never end?

What I see in “The Avengers,” unfortunately, is a diminished film despite its huge scale, and kind of a bore. It’s a diminishment of Whedon’s talents, as he squeezes himself into an ill-fitting narrative straitjacket, and it’s a diminished form that has become formula, that depends entirely on minor technical innovations and leaves virtually no room for drama or tragedy or anything else that might make the story actually interesting. To praise the movie lavishly, as so many people have done and will continue to do, basically requires making endless allowances. It’s really good (for being a comic-book movie). It’s really good (for being almost exactly like dozens of other things). It’s really good (for being utterly inconsequential).

* Today’s single chart that explains everything.

* The football suicides. More players file concussion lawsuits against the NFL. Will the NFL still exist in 20 years?

* The internship scam.

How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone.

* Save the Holocene! Why “the Anthropocene” might not be a useful construct.

* Do you remember Frank Kunkel? How about Frank Nowarczyk? John Marsh or Robert Erdman? Johann Zazka? Martin Jankowiak? Not even Michael Ruchalski? Do you remember the call “Eight hours for labor, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation?” The names are those of the seven of the nine people killed in 1886 in Bay View, Wisconsin for demanding eight hour work days.

* On Colorado’s policy of sending kids to adult court.

* A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.

* Consider the case of Toby Groves.

* New Police Strategy in New York: Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protesters.

* North Carolina’s Ban on Gay Marriage Appears Likely to Pass.

* Since Mexico’s legislative body passed sweeping climate change legislation on April 19, Mexico joins the UK as the only two countries in the world with legally binding emissions goals to combat climate change.

http://thebiblein100days.tumblr.com/

* American Airlines channels Darth Vader: We are altering the deal. Pray we do not alter it further.

* And Stephen Colbert’s employment of the comedic stylings of German Ambassador Hans Beinholtz continues to be my absolute favorite thing of all time.

More

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Potpourri

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* Jacob Remes explains May Day.

* My Joss Whedon zombie essay from PopMatters is out in Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion today. Last night I submitted my abstract for the upcoming Politics of Adaptation conference on Cabin in the Woods, drawing me ever closer to total Joss Whedon scholarly completism.

* Roundtable on Non-Western SF, at Locus.

* A federal judge in Virginia has ruled that “liking” a Facebook post is not free speech. To repeat my own Twitter quips, yeah, because it doesn’t cost money.

* New polling shows Amendment One will likely pass after all.

* al Qaeda’s discovered our only weakness: our insatiable love of porn.

On May 16 last year, a 22-year-old Austrian named Maqsood Lodin was being questioned by police in Berlin. He had recently returned from Pakistan via Budapest, Hungary, and then traveled overland to Germany. His interrogators were surprised to find that hidden in his underpants were a digital storage device and memory cards.

Buried inside them was a pornographic video called “Kick Ass” — and a file marked “Sexy Tanja.”

Several weeks later, after laborious efforts to crack a password and software to make the file almost invisible, German investigators discovered encoded inside the actual video a treasure trove of intelligence — more than 100 al Qaeda documents that included an inside track on some of the terror group’s most audacious plots and a road map for future operations.

* Hungry for good nerd press, Netflix is teasing it might resurrect Jericho.

* Five anarchists arrested by FBI for trying to blow up Cleveland bridge with fake bombs given to them by FBI.

* Aetna, according to the report, cited exclusions and said it would not cover the claim because Scott developed breasts after she changed sexes. N.J. transgender woman wins battle with insurance company to have mammogram covered.

* …legal chicanery has reached such high levels that the SEC is toying with the idea of going after it directly.

* And somebody page Nick Bostrom: Entire Observable Universe Modeled Using French Supercomputer.

Friday!

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* Writing Climate Change: A Round Table Discussion. With Julie Bertagna, Tobias Buckell, Maggie Gee, Glenda Larke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Vandana Singh, and Joan Slonczewski.

* This much is for sure: Keeping the cost of borrowed money a bit lower for one more year won’t cure the rising cost of higher education. It’s not even a bandage. It’s more like giving some comforting words to a critically injured patient. It might make a few people feel better, or win some votes, but it won’t do much to help our problems.

* Today’s insane Kafkaesque nightmare: Frank Rodriguez is a registered sex offender because he slept with his high school girlfriend (now wife) fifteen years ago, when he was 19 and she was 16.

Once he was labeled a sex offender, Frank faced a slew of restrictions. “I couldn’t talk to Nikki. I couldn’t go to restaurants, public swimming pools, football games — any places where there might be kids,” he says. “I couldn’t vote. I couldn’t leave the county without permission. My probation officer told me, ‘If you even look at a woman the wrong way, you could go to prison.'”

Frank did not have to go to jail. Instead, he was required to perform 350 hours of community service — picking up trash, mowing lawns — and to attend weekly counseling courses with convicted sex offenders and pedophiles. He also had to move out of his family home, since a 12-year-old girl lived there: his own sister.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Nikki and Frank’s connection grew stronger. “We didn’t have anything — but we didn’t need anything,” Frank says. “We were together.” Nikki finished school, then got a job in the county courthouse, where she works today; she and Frank married two years later. The couple’s first daughter was born about two years after that. Since Frank was still on probation, it was illegal for him to live in the same home as his baby girl. So he lived there against the law, becoming withdrawn and paranoid, constantly worrying about getting arrested. “My personality changed,” he says. “I used to be the life of the party. Now I didn’t want to leave the house.” A second daughter arrived a year later.

In 2003, Frank’s probation came to an end, and he could legally live with his daughters. Still, he needed to go to the police station every year on his birthday to register as a sex offender. Nikki lobbied officials in the courthouse — judges, district attorneys — to clear Frank’s name, to no avail. Frank simply fell outside the parameters of Texas law, which stipulated that the accused had to be within three years of age of his underage sexual partner to avoid registration. Frank is three years and two months older than Nikki. A further element of the law said that the accused could avoid registration if he was under 19 years old and his partner was over 13 years old when they had sex. Nikki was 15. But Frank lost again: He was 19.

Nikki and Frank connected with activists, and traveled to the state capital to participate in a public hearing. Still, Frank remained on the Texas registry, his crime listed as “sexual assault of a child.”

Via Longform.org.

* F*ck the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner.

* Sometimes Dumb Science Turns Out to be Pretty Smart.

* Rebekah Sheldon preps us for the upcoming C21 Nonhuman Turn conference with “Affect, Epistemology and the Nonhuman Turn.”

* And Amendment One opponents are trending towards a heartbreakingly narrow defeat.

Wednesday

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* Doctor Who: 100% true. Fact.

* On the set of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I would be very excited about this show if the protagonist weren’t yet another fantasyland Sorkin Republican.

* Connecticut has abolished the death penalty.

* Obama comes to Carolina, never mentions Amendment One.

* Most of what we think about Mexican immigration is wrong. (via)

* The end of the world and the impossibility of an alternative to financial capitalism are not just defining features of contemporary global imagination: they sustain one another. After all, if we might all be radioactive smudges on the tarmac come Tuesday, why not be out for as much as we can grab today? Why build a sustainable growth model if it might be underwater in thirty years? Unrestrained free-market capitalism requires that its vassals live in the moment, borrowing against their own futures, and for the past two generations of neoliberal policymaking, there have been logical reasons for us to do so.

* Obama v. Obama on the drug war.

* Vermont Continues Working Towards A Universal Health Care System.

* And some sad news: Rest in peace, Ernest Callenbach, father of Ecotopia.

Friday Night Links

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* This American Life retracts their Apple documentary. More here.

* Greetings from Milwaukee: Selections from the Thomas and Jean Ross Bliffert Postcard Collection.

* Rortybomb with three ways of looking at the student debt crisis.

* China Miéville previews his new comic series Dial H for Hero.

* Inhofe on climate change: “‘I Thought It Must Be True Until I Found Out What It Cost.” Sure, that’s how facts work.

* Wisconsin GOP loses state Senate majority after surprise resignation.

* The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos. Via MeFi.

* Rick Perlstein argues the problem isn’t that conservatives are crazier than they were fifty years ago; the problem is they’re exactly as crazy as they were fifty years ago. Via LGM.

After less than three full days of deliberations, the five men and seven women of the jury found Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, guilty of invading the privacy of his 18-year-old roommate, Tyler Clementi, and his dorm-room date. 

So much intercepted information is now being collected from “enemies” at home and abroad that, in order to store it all, the agency last year began constructing the ultimate monument to eavesdropping. Rising in a remote corner of Utah, the agency’s gargantuan data storage center will be 1 million square feet, cost nearly $2 billion and likely be capable of eventually holding more than a yottabyte of data — equal to about a septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

* I miss Linsanity. Those were simpler times.

* Americans used public transformation twice as much in 1940. That’s per capita. That’s nuts.

* Louis C.K. Withdraws as Host of Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Who invited him in the first place? What a terrible choice for the gig.

* Obama comes out against Amendment One. Hey, me too!

* Al Gore endorses filibuster reform. Hey, me too!

* And today in Settlers of Catan news: A Dutch public broadcasting network last month offered its viewers a board game featuring Israeli settlers who use “Jewish stinginess” and “the Anne Frank card” to colonize the West Bank. Hours of fun for the entire family!