Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama

Supersized ICFA Weekend Links!

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* Hey, ICFAites! I’m posting this too late to hype yesterday’s talk on Black Panther and Wakanda as Nation, but there’s still time to hype my Rogue One roundtable at 8:30 and the Modern Masters of Science Fiction book signing at 12:30…

* One week from today! Buffy at 20!

* I really appreciated The New Inquiry‘s most recent issue on prison abolition, including this piece on home monitoring, this one on deaf inmates, and this one on bureaucratic malice.

* Awesome IndieGoGo success story: Nimuno LEGO tape.

Every attempt to manage academia makes it worse.

* Teach the controversy: Did the CIA really astrally project to Mars in 1984?

* Neat project I’m coming late to: Young People Read Old SFF.

“Mr. Thursday.” By Emily St. John Mandel.

* Starfleet or bust.

* The Gig Economy and Working Yourself to Death.

What Happens If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan? How to survive a nuclear blast.

Other genres merely represent everyday life. Science fiction hopes to change it.

* Humans, on brand.

New Zealand river granted same legal rights as human being.

The Existential Hokiness of Rick & Morty.

Purplish Haze: The Science Fiction Vision of Jimi Hendrix.

“Comrade, Can You Paint My Horse?” Soviet Kids’ Books Today.

* Being Kim Stanley Robinson. After the Great Dithering.

Julia muppet
Credit: Sesame Workshop

* Sesame Street’s newest puppet is a four-year-old with autism.

Disabled Americans: Stop Murdering Us.

* “Let’s talk about the weird psychosexual energy in Beauty and the Beast.”

* “The monsters of Kong: Skull Island are as brilliantly rendered as its politics are muddled and queasy.”

* “Humpback whales are organizing in huge numbers, and no one knows why.”

Animal rights lawyer says zoos are solitary confinement for animals. No animals have all the attributes of human minds; but almost all the attributes of human minds are found in some animal or other. The beginning of the end of meat. Scientists are messing around with 3-D printed cheese.

* Great news: Authorities believe they’ve captured the individual responsible for most of the JCC bomb threats. The Slip-Up That Caught the Jewish Center Bomb Caller.

With a 10-day supply of opioids, 1 in 5 become long-term users. Drugs are killing so many people in Ohio that cold-storage trailers are being used as morgues.

With Trump Poised to Change the Legal Landscape, the Clock May Be Ticking on Graduate Unions. The shamelessness with which college administrations have courted this outcome is amazing, even by college administration standards.

How One Family Is Beating the NCAA at Its Own Game.

Here’s the Important Stuff That Happens in Iron Fist So You Don’t Have to Watch It. Netflix and Marvel’s Iron Fist is an ill-conceived, poorly written disaster. The Iron Fist TV Series Is Marvel and Netflix’s First Big Failure. Five Comments on Iron Fist.

* Paranoia in the Trump White House. Trumpism and academia. Trump’s Cuts. A day in the life of a poor American under Trump’s proposed budget. North Korea. The Incredible Cruelty of Trumpcare. Trumpcare goes down. Democrats Will Filibuster Neil Grouch’s Nomination. What to ask about Russian hacking. New York Attorney General Steps Up Scrutiny of White House. Why they voted Trump. r/Donald. It’s a better time to be doing any kind of leftist politics than it was a decade ago. Well, we’ll see…

* It’s hard in all this mess to pay attention to the little things, but man.

* My fascism will be big, beautiful, and sustainable, or it will be bullshit.

Overall, Obama’s performance in office looks like most American presidencies since Reagan, not altering all that much at home while pressing ahead with imperial tasks abroad—in effect, a largely conventional stewardship of neo-liberal capitalism and military-diplomatic expansionism. No new direction for either society or empire emerged under him. Obama’s rule was in this sense essentially stand-pat: business as usual. On another plane, however, his tenure was innovative. For he is the first celebrity President—that is, a politician whose very appearance was a sensation, from the earliest days of his quest for the Democratic nomination onwards: to be other than purely white, as well as good-looking and mellifluous, sufficed for that. Catapulted into the White House on colour charisma and economic crisis, and commanding the first congressional supermajority since Carter, Obama in office continued to be an accomplished vote-winner and champion money-raiser. But celebrity is not leadership, and is not transferrable. The personality it projects allows no diffusion. Of its nature, it requires a certain isolation. Obama, relishing his aura and aware of the risks of diluting it, made little attempt to mobilize the populace who cast their ballots for him, and reserved the largesse showered on him by big money for further acclamation at the polls. What mattered was his personal popularity. His party hardly counted, and his policies had little political carry-through.

What If Students Only Went to School Four Days a Week?

Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.

* Body cameras and the nightmare state.

* When corporations colonize academia.

White, Irish, and undocumented in America.

Children as young as 3 detained 500 days — and counting — in disgraceful immigrant prisons. Rape Victims Aren’t Seeking Help For Fear Of Deportation, Police Say. Banking on Deportation. There was an Africa trade meeting with no Africans because all their visas got denied.

Sheriff David Clarke’s jail forced a woman to give birth while in shackles. The newborn died.

* The long now: A Computer-Generated Coliseum that Will Disintegrate for 1,000 Years.

Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research.

* A special issue of Orbit devoted to David Foster Wallace.

* Functional illiteracy in Detroit.

* Why Does Mt. Rushmore Exist?

Everybody in the NBA is obsessed with PB&J sandwiches.

* Missing Richard Simmons turned out super gross. Don’t listen.

Congress Moves to Strike Internet Privacy Rules From Obama Era.

* I’ve been really interested in this: A major study finding that voter ID laws hurt minorities isn’t standing up well under scrutiny. A follow-up study suggests voter ID laws may not have a big effect on elections.

* Are we raising racists? Pay attention to what your kids watch on their screens.

* Tomb of Santa uncovered in Siberia.

* Educational attainment in America.

The Peter Parker/Mary Jane Watson Marriage Will Never Ever Return “Up To Infinity” Says Dan Slott.

* Or a tweet. Probably a tweet.

A Tale Which Must Never Be Told: A New Biography of George Herriman.

Trans, Disabled, And Tired Of Fighting To Get Into Bathrooms.

* Appliances used to last decades.

A year in Eden: Remaining cast of TV show finally leave their remote Highland home.

Now the remaining cast of a TV show have finally left their remote home – to virtual anonymity.

Instead of being crowned reality TV celebrities and fought over by agents, the 10 who made it through the 12 months have learned that only four episodes have been shown – the last seven months ago.

* Mr. Rogers vs. the Ku Klux Klan.

* Andy Daly reviews Review.

* CFP: Chuck Berry in the Anthropocene.

* The Rise of Bowie Studies.

* SNL quick change, Jeff Sessions to mermaid.

* I still believe in a place called Duckburg.

* No.

* Respectfully disagree.

* Action Lad and the Living Sword!

* And the arc of history is long, but there’s an Attack from Mars pinball machine remake coming later this year.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 25, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Monday Morning Snow Day Links

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I posted a link dump last night at sort of an odd time, so you might have missed it. It included my review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s excellent New York 2140 at the Los Angeles Review of Books, Utopia in the Time of Trump, so read that! Here’s everything that’s happened since then…

Q&A: Kim Stanley Robinson Explains How He Flooded Manhattan.

* Fukuyama once declared the end of history. But lawmakers in several states, tired of turning the clocks back, want to
leave Eastern Standard Time and join the Atlantic Standard time zone.

Welcome To Mars! Enjoy Perpetual Jet Lag Under An Eerie Red Sky.

True stories of employed English majors.

* One of the most brutal reviews of anything I’ve ever read.

The Trump administration is exploring how to dismantle or bypass Obama-era constraints intended to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks, commando raids and other counterterrorism missions outside conventional war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations.

Every day some clown in this administration does something that would have brought down the government 18 months ago.

Uncomfortable Friends: Revising the American Jesuits.

They decried nationalism as a source of division, materialism, and militarism. They warned that the unfettered pursuit of profit destroyed communities and undermined human dignity. They sued to have the King James Bible removed from public schools. Contemporary progressives? No: 19th-century Jesuits. The same 19th-century American Jesuits who allied themselves with slaveholders, believed that the ideal polity promoted one “true faith,” and considered modernity a bitter, but eventually vanquishable foe. In a deeply learned and delightfully readable new book, John T. McGreevy explains the principles, circumstances, and personalities from which this apparently contradictory set of positions emerged, and outlines the consequences for the nation’s religion and politics. At a moment when we are riveted anew by arguments over the meaning of community and liberty — and reminded that one man’s desired future can be another man’s rejected past — McGreevy’s account of these surprising Jesuits feels like an essential read.

If every European secession movement succeeded.

* 1. AAA game developers attempt to remain relevant to an aging core demographic by producing an entire generation of games about sad dads protecting their kids; owing to the gaming industry’s collective discomfort with male-male emotional intimacy, nearly all of these kids are girls. You’ll never guess what happened next…

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary will boldly move forward with filming.

* Well, it’s not all bad news: A lot of people who make over $350,000 are about to get replaced by software.

* And Marquette made March Madness, with a surprisingly high seed! Who would win the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball tournament if academics trumped athletic skill.

 

Tuesday Morning Links!

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* The course descriptions for Marquette’s Fall 2017 English classes are up at the department website. Check them out! I’m teaching Tolkien and a grad seminar on utopia. 

* Also in Marquette news! Marquette to host ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ conference in April.

Becoming a parent forces you to think about the nature of the problem — which is, in a lot of ways, the problem of nature […] the realities of aging and sickness and mortality become suddenly inescapable. […] [My wife] said something during that time I will never forget. “If I had known how much I was going to love him,” she said, “I’m not sure I would have had him.” Mark O’Connell on transhumanism and immortality.

* From the great Ali Sperling: Reading Lovecraft in the Anthropocene. And this review of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem from the great David Higgins!

* Adam Roberts reviews New York 2140. Another review, from a climate scientist. And an interview with Stan. My review comes out in LARB this weekend…

The Most Cringeworthy Monuments to Colleges’ Innovation Jargon.

Perverse outcomes: UC Berkeley deletes 20,000 audio and visual lectures in the name of compliance with the ADA.

Speculative Fiction and Survival in Iraq.

* Is it really so hard to understand that when your students go broke just trying to graduate they aren’t exactly moved to donate later?

harcourt_fenton_mudd_2267* The liberal arts at Harvey Mudd College, whose graduates out-earn Harvard and Stanford.

* You-might-be-from-Wisconsin-if at Ask MetaFilter.

President Roosevelt signed the order on February 19, 1942, almost exactly 75 years ago. By spring, American citizens would be arriving at the Fresno and Pinedale camps: our neighbors.

* Wisconsin is apparently harassing trans state employees.

* Chaos, again. This is fine. Even James Comey. Twilight of Reince Preibus. Ten Questions for President Trump. Ten More Questions for President Trump. Remember when it was scandalous that Obama, years before he became a politician, once sold his house?

It is through the Justice Department that the administration is likely to advance its nationalist plans — to strengthen the grip of law enforcement, raise barriers to voting and significantly reduce all forms of immigration, promoting what seems to be a longstanding desire to reassert the country’s European and Christian heritage. It’s not an accident that Sessions, who presumably could have chosen from a number of plum assignments, opted for the role of attorney general. The Department of Justice is the most valuable perch from which to transform the country in the way he and Bannon have wanted. With an exaggerated threat of disorder looming, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency could become a machine for trying to fundamentally change who gets to be an American and what rights they can enjoy.

The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

* “Forever war, but too much.”

An Afghan family of five that had received approval to move to the United States based on the father’s work for the American government has been detained for more than two days after flying into Los Angeles International Airport, a legal advocacy group said in court documents filed on Saturday. Profiles of immigrant arrested in Austin. Thousands of ICE detainees claim they were forced into labor, a violation of anti-slavery laws. (Note this lawsuit was filed in 2014.This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. And if it were a book, it’d seem laughably contrived: A letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Resisting ICE. Here we go again.

* 4chan and the Great Meme War.

* Russia and the Cyber Cold War.

* And while we’re on the subject: The Basic Formula For Every Shocking Russia/Trump Revelation. I think this is a very good reminder of the need to stay calm and detached from the chaos of the news cycle.

Instead, a new model is proposed: the president keeps everyone in a constant state of excitement and alarm. He moves fast and breaks things. He leads by causing commotion. As energy in the political system rises he makes no effort to project calm or establish an orderly White House. And if he keeps us safe it’s not by being himself a safe, steady, self-controlled figure, but by threatening opponents and remaining brash and unpredictable— maybe a touch crazy. This too is psychological work, but of a different kind.

* Democrats keep trusting demographics to save them. It hasn’t worked yet — but maybe this time…

NASA unveils plan to give Mars an ‘Earth-like’ atmosphere.

House Republicans Unveil Bill To Repeal Obamacare. The GOP health bill doesn’t know what problem it’s trying to solve.

Austerity measures don’t actually save money. But they do disempower workers. Which is why governments pursue them in the first place.

* No! It can’t be! Researchers have found strong evidence that racism helps the GOP win.

* Losing West Virginia.

Contrary to What You Learned in Sex Ed, You Can Get Pregnant While Pregnant.

* Mid-decade gerrymander in Georgia.

* Autism and Addiction.

* What We’ve Learned from Giving Dolphins LSD.

In a world first, a teenager with sickle cell disease achieved complete remission after an experimental gene therapy at Necker Children’s Hospital in Paris, researchers say.

* Possible lynching outside Seattle, in 2017.

* The end of suburbia.

* In the richest country in human history, children have “lunch debt.”

The only way in which a game is guaranteed to end is when the player abandons their device. Everything else is game design.

“These devices don’t have emotional intelligence,” said Allison Druin, a University of Maryland professor who studies how children use technology. “They have factual intelligence.” How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.

* Finding a jury of your peers in a racially segregated society.

* A colony in a nation.

Divination hasn’t disappeared; it’s taken over the world.

But these second-order obstacles aren’t enough to explain the current collapse of poll-driven political certainty. They’re just excuses, even if they’re not untrue. Something about the whole general scheme of polling—the idea that you can predict what millions of undecided voters will do by selecting a small group and then just simply asking them—is out of whack. We need to think seriously about what the strange game of election-watching actually is, in terms of our relation to the future, our power to choose our own outcomes, the large-scale structure of the universe, and the mysteries of fate. And these questions are urgent. Because predictions of the future don’t simply exist in the future, but change the way we act in the present. Because in our future something monstrous is rampaging: it paces hungrily toward us, and we need to know if we’ll be able to spot it in time.

When I said that opinion polls are sibyls and soothsayers, it wasn’t just a figure of speech. Opinion polling has all the trappings of a science—it has its numbers and graphs, its computational models, its armies of pallid drones poring over the figures. It makes hypotheses and puts them to the test. But polls are not taken for what they are: a report on what a small number of people, fond of changing their minds, briefly pretended to think. Instead, we watch the tracking graphs as if the future were playing itself out live in front of us. The real structure of the electoral-wonk complex is more mystical than materialist: it’s augury and divination, a method handed down by Prometheus to a starving and shivering humanity at the faint dawn of time. Behind all the desktop screens and plate-glass of his office, the buzz of data and the hum of metrics, Nate Silver retreats to a quiet, dark, and holy room. He takes the knife and slits in one stroke the throat of a pure-white bull; its blood arcs and drizzles in all directions. He examines its patterns. And he knows.

There’s a never-ending fount of stories you can write about when someone is breaking away from canon or not, and create many controversies all the way through preproduction and production and even until a movie opens, about whether or not they’re breaking canon. Is it a blasphemous movie or not? At some point, you gotta stop and say, Is there this expectation that it’s like we’re doing Godfather Part I and II, only it’s going to nine movies? And we’re just gonna cut them into this kind of Berlin Alexanderplatz that never ends? We’re gonna suddenly take a moment to really savor the fact that these movies exist in an identical tone? The reality to me is that you can’t have interesting movies if you tell a filmmaker, “Get in this bed and dream, but don’t touch the pillows or move the blankets.” You will not get cinema. You will just get a platform for selling the next movie on that bed, unchanged and unmade. James Mangold on Logan.

* The making of The Silmarillion.

* And we have but one choice: the Ring must be destroyed.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 7, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Weekend Links!

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c5zayqzuwailjt1* Angela Davis at Marquette, March 29.

CFP: From Sanctuary to Sabotage: Fighting the Fascist Creep at and beyond Universities.

“Virtually nothing about our standard model of sleep existed as we know it two centuries ago.”

* Modern love.

20 Years Ago, Starship Troopers Showed Us What Happens When Fascism Wins.

11 things I learned about academia by analysing 14 million RateMyProfessor reviews.

tumblr_om94ksmnrs1romv9co1_250* Remember that Iowa lawmaker who wanted to purge universities of Democrats? Guess what!

* When the CIA read Foucault.

* Nice, low-key interview with Kim Stanley Robinson on Flash Forward TV.

Abigail Nussbaum walks you through her Hugo short fiction nominations.
* Trump and the Myth of Nuclear Flexibility.

* Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War.

* My alma mater in the news!

* America divided into states with the population of California. Which is to say, if we allow ourselves a crudely democratic understanding of what representative democracy should be, there would only be 16 senators in a Senate that fairly represented people living in California.

america

America has locked up so many black people it has warped our sense of reality.

* Exiting the Roach Motel, or, What’s the Matter with the Democratic Party?

The Democratic Party is a roach motel for leftists. We go in full of vision and energy, like the Sanders kids, like the Ellison supporters, and we get crushed and stuck in the slime. Sanders and Ellison had to play by the rules and call for continuing support for the Dems after their losses. Having played the game, they were stuck with the rules in the roach motel. Once you go in, you may never come out.

* Slavery and the academy.

* Twilight of the meritocrats.

* Palantir and ICE. Freeze on H-1B Visas. Customs Giving Literacy Tests At JFK Is A Thing Now. Deportation fears impacting criminal case. Don’t Get Your Undocumented Friends in Trouble: A How-To. Are you listening, SXSW?

* White House aide Sebastian Gorka said Wednesday that objections to President Donald Trump’s creation of a new office to highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants are “un-American.” All right, then, I’ll go to Hell….

* “Accompanied by his wife Jessica, a U.S. citizen who is six months pregnant with their first child.” Trump administration considering separating women, children at U.S.-Mexico border. Detained after a press conference, Daniela Vargas was seven when she came to the U.S. A 13-Year-Old Girl Sobbed While Recording Her Immigrant Father Get Arrested By ICE Agents. ICE Plans To Deport Oregon Immigrant With 5 Children, No Criminal Background. Immigration agents deport Houston father of two who previously held immigration reprieve. After Decades In The U.S., NY Immigrant With Years-Old Pot Misdemeanor Faces Deportation. Does even a single person with a conscience work for this administration?

* Kushner and Flynn. Two other Trump advisers also spoke with Russian envoy during GOP convention. Your cheat sheet to four potential investigations of Russia and President Trump. Mysteries of Jeff Sessions. Recusal is not enough. Isn’t it pretty to think so? The Innocent Explanation. Why Trump Sounding ‘Presidential’ Only Makes Him More Dangerous. Style and Substance. Trumpism and heroism. You Cretins Are Going To Get Thousands Of People Killed. This one broke while I was tagging the post.

* Hard to blame them: European Parliament votes to end visa-free travel for Americans.

* Four mosques have burned in seven weeks. Nearly half of the country’s Jewish community centers have received bomb threats in 2017. Today’s arrest (an apparent copycat) covered less than 10% of that.

* Destroying the planet is too important to let a silly little thing like national borders get in the way. The end of the Great Lakes. Gutting the Chesapeake Bay. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F.

* The rich are different: they control everything.

* Adam Roberts rereads The Time Machine.

* The Feminist Bookstore Movement.

* Fascinated by this: Price of Lab-Grown Burger Falls from $325K to $11.36.

* A rough stat from up the street: Only 1 in 5 black students enrolled at UW-Milwaukee graduates in 6 years.

* Team Plagiarizes Golden State Warriors. Team Is Undefeated.

* Could different borders save Europe?

“We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,” he wrote. “Ms. Conway has acknowledged her understanding of the standards and has reiterated her commitment to abiding by them in the future.”

* A diabetic boy’s parents ‘didn’t believe in doctors.’ Now they’re guilty of his murder.

* Are the Yuuzhan Vong coming back?

After oil was discovered on their Oklahoma reservation, the Osage Nation became the richest people per capita in the world. Then they began to be murdered off mysteriously. In 1924 the nascent FBI sent a team of undercover agents, including a Native American, to the Osage reservation.

* 69 Cock Lane is yours for £449,950, but is it Britain’s naughtiest address?

* Study: half of the studies you read about in the news are wrong (And yes, this could be one of them).

* This is the future liberals want. Though of course the meme is good too.

* But not this one: “basically a Fitbit for your man bits that tracks thrust speed and velocity.”

* Disney is super proud of itself for this incredibly progressive leap forward. Next: Scar, Ursula, and Captain Hook were all gay, too!

* There’s nothing sweet in life: Protesting Dr. Seuss Week.

* Nobody hates college more than the people who run colleges.

A transgender boy just won the Texas girls’ state wrestling championship.

* No More Saturday Marches. While the Iron Is Hot: The Case for the Women’s Strike.

* The line must be drawn — here!

* Ethical zoo.

* A People’s History of Daria.

These colleges are better than Harvard at making poor kids rich.

* George W. Bush, with the soul of an artist.

* Massive Open Online Rubber Arrow through the Head.

* You know what? Fine.

* Statement of teaching philosophy.

* This week’s I Was There Too interviews someone I’ve always wondered about, the actor who replaced Crispin Glover in Back to the Future Part Two. The Biff episode was good too though if you follow Back to the Future arcana you’ve probably heard a lot of it before.

* Trump’s worst crime is forcing me to agree with David Frum.

* Neoliberalism in everything: “Ark Encounter doesn’t live up to economic promise.”

* NASA’s about to learn a valuable lesson about the Internet.

* And the positive reviews have done it: I’m going to ruin my career and buy a Nintendo Switch so I can play the new Zelda.

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Written by gerrycanavan

March 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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March 1 Links! March 1 Only and Then They’re Gone!

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tumblr_om224d56iq1sqep2mo1_500Contemporary African literature as taught in today’s classrooms is pathetically 20th century. The keepers of those gates overwhelmingly think of contemporary African literature as the three A’s: Achebe, Adichie, Abani. When pressed, they add Habila. It is pathetic, really. The bulk of our literature is on the Internet and ancient professors are still photocopying what Achebe wrote in 1958.

We are possibly witnessing the implosion of American capitalism (i.e., neoliberalism) and hopefully its empire as well. Liberals, those who are protesting today, did not protest the mass incarceration and forceful expulsion of individuals who had been in this country for decades, did not protest the drone wars and illegal killings and fomenting of civil wars and mass displacement under our auspices ever since 9/11. The Obama presidency is destined to go down in history as a footnote; we are simply picking up fascist steam now from where we left off in 2003, before the Iraq War started going awry. The world war that began on 9/11 has resumed. We never left it in the intervening years, because we never sought accountability. The case for moral disengagement from politics in the age of Trump. I found this a brutal, sobering read. Obviously we have to fight in whatever ways we can fight — but I’m sorry to say the predictions laid out here seem much more likely to me than any notion of heroic #Resistance on the part of institutional Democrats or liberals more generally.

* Meanwhile, the media.

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The basic critique of Bruenig et al is right: The leadership of the Democratic Party, nationally and in most states, has resisted acknowledging the failures of the Obama years.

Now seems like a fine time to listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s sermon on nuclear annihilation.

* Keep America weird: Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge wins UFO Researcher Of The Year award.

* The Hunt for the Perfect Sugar.

Why You Can’t Ever Call an Enslaved Woman a “Mistress.”

* This actually raises a ton of questions for me about how C-3PO’s mind works, how protocol droids prioritize their storage resources, and what people in the Star Wars galaxy consider “communication.”

* Some investigative details on the horrifying wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish centers.

* If you’re really asking: yes.

* And it’s not all bad news: Black Holes Devour Stars a Lot More Frequently Than We Thought.

 

Monday Morning Links

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* I was delighted to find Octavia E. Butler on Locus’s 2016 Recommended Reading List. And you can vote for it as nonfiction book of the year! Make Ursula work for it.

Eight works of science fiction that present tyrants (not all of them human).

To maintain the USA as an integral entity is a constant struggle, with no guarantees of success. Science fiction shows us some of the many ways to fail at the task.

* I’d taken England off my list of countries to flee to, but perhaps I could be coaxed.

* Madness at the National Security Council. The Spy Revolt Against Trump. ‘A Sense of Dread’ for Civil Servants Shaken by Trump Transition. How To Deal with Reichstag Fire Fears in the Age of Trump. Twilight of Mike Flynn. Meanwhile, Trump is doing international diplomacy in the public dining room at Mar-a-Lago. “We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less.” Trump’s two-year presidency. Two years. Jesus. Shitgibbon.

* This seems fine.

One of the great achievements of free society in a stable democracy is that many people, for much of the time, need not think about politics at all. The president of a free country may dominate the news cycle many days — but he is not omnipresent — and because we live under the rule of law, we can afford to turn the news off at times. A free society means being free of those who rule over you — to do the things you care about, your passions, your pastimes, your loves — to exult in that blessed space where politics doesn’t intervene. In that sense, it seems to me, we already live in a country with markedly less freedom than we did a month ago. It’s less like living in a democracy than being a child trapped in a house where there is an abusive and unpredictable father, who will brook no reason, respect no counter-argument, admit no error, and always, always up the ante until catastrophe inevitably strikes. This is what I mean by the idea that we are living through an emergency.

We have been shy about stating the obvious: that something is terribly and uniquely wrong with this president. His powers weaponise the problem.  We can all see it. We can all feel it, too. Donald Trump is the walking, talking, hate-tweeting embodiment of the howling identity crisis afflicting the entire United States.

* Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states. What it’s like to be arrested by ICE. Fear and panic. Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos’ deportation to Mexico from Arizona this week was the last chapter of a long nightmare for her family. It began in 2008 with a knock on the door by sheriff’s officers. And they finally found an undocumented immigrant who voted. For Abdulkarim Jimale, escape was the only way to survive. Trump’s immigration order means bureaucrats have to decide who’s a “real” Christian. #KnowYourRights. What Geology Has to Say About Building a 1,000-Mile Border Wall. How big a deviation is this from Obama?

The initial estimate is here: Trump’s wall will cost more than a year of the space program that we’re also not going to have anymore.

* Asylum seekers fleeing the US into Canada. Losing Hope in U.S., Migrants Make Icy Crossing to Canada. Newcomer centre has no more room for border-crossing refugees.

* Revealed: FBI terrorism taskforce investigating Standing Rock activists.

* Shock report: Republicans are completely morally depraved. But don’t worry, the Democrats have got this.

An updating tally of how often every member of the House and the Senate votes with or against the president.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-05-04-pm* Mr. President.

* Everything is about Trump now.

* Well, it’s come to this: a geoengineering plan to refreeze the Arctic Circle. We may live in a post-truth era, but nature does not. Simple equation shows how human activity is trashing the planet.

* Turns out you make more money on university endowments when you don’t sign over all the money to hedge-fund scam artists.

As for hedge funds and other high-cost alternatives, “the whole two-and-20 model” — in which investors typically pay 2 percent of assets under management and 20 percent of any gains — “is ridiculous,” Mr. Morris said. “The cost structure is outrageous. As they say on Wall Street, ‘Where are the customers’ yachts?’ I’m not going to play that game.”

A US-born NASA scientist was detained at the border until he unlocked his phone.

* Hello old friends: Foreground objects in adventure game scenery.

* lol x2: Geraldo Rivera quits post after Yale removes slavery supporter’s name.

* Today in “police claim.”

Amazon now controls 46% of all e-commerce in the United States.

* A brief history of the gerrymander.

Why does the United States still let 12-year-olds get married?

How American women fell behind Japanese women in the workplace.

* A brief history of punching Nazis in Marvel Comics.

* AI and the end of the middle class.

Rio’s Olympic Park, 6 months after games.

Reframing Faculty Criticisms of Student Activism.

* Milwaukee offers America’s longest-lived experiment with urban-school vouchers, but their mixed legacy is not a story you’ll frequently hear from lawmakers and advocates currently championing the spread of private school–choice programs across the country.

* A university, attacked by its own malware-laced soda machines and other botnet-controlled IoT devices, was locked out of 5,000 systems.

* Double majoring will not save you. Only the great god STEM will save you. All praise STEM!

* Springsteen shrugged.

* Mark Fisher (1968-2017).

* And this is great, like everything they do: Arnie, Usidore, and Chunt play Gauntlet.

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Weekend Links!

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tumblr_ol5we0t6ty1romv9co1_500* Are you at AWP? Or in DC generally? Jaimee is! She’ll be doing a book signing at the Waywiser Table at 12:30 Saturday and then reading at the Waywiser reading at 7:30 PM at the Den.

* I’ll be giving a short workshop on Octavia Butler and Kindred at the Stanford Humanities Center next Thursday, if that’s convenient to you!

This is so outrageous. 21 years in the US, arrived at 14, two US citizen children, arrested at a scheduled check-in with ICE. You could hardly find more compelling proof that this is entirely and exclusively about cruelty.

* “Pentagon journal explores what could happen if a president called for Muslim internment camps.” Gee, I wonder.

Meanwhile, in another classic authoritarian maneuver, the outsized ego at the heart of the Trumpist seizure of power has surrounded himself with an obliging retinue of enablers and quisling yes-men. Trump likes to divide people between “haters and losers”—a cheap shot that is actually a fairly useful way to categorize his own team. It’s Already Happened Here. How to Stop an Autocracy. Profiles in Courage: Rand Paul, Civil Libertarian.

* Every day. Something crazy happens every day.

* The history of this era is going to be so, so unbelievable.

* Neither Nordstrom nor Ivanka but International Socialism.

* Of course…

* It’s getting to the point where you can’t even call for the wanton slaughter of students without some PC SJW raising a stink about it.

tumblr_ol51udr3fd1romv9co1_500How Political Fear Works. Beware of Self-Censorship. Who Benefits From Trump’s Chaos? What’s in it For The Collaborators? There Are No Good Reasons Not To Fight.

* Obama’s Lost Army: When Obama Killed OFA.

* I liked this: The Meitheal Manifesto: Thirteen Agreements to Save the World.

* Some rare good news on the climate.

* Darkest thing I’ve ever seen, first for one the one reason and then for the other.

* The arc of history is long, but Mac malware is slowly catching up to its Windows rivals.

Solitary Confinement Is a Great American Shame.

* Remembering Richard Rorty on Trump (and the reformist left) (again).

* No one is reading those reference letters. “Truly, this is the single easiest fix in academic culture.”

* Science education in the time of Trump.

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* You can’t argue with facts, little brother.

* Bees aren’t endangered anymore! Surprisingly easy fix actually.

Everything is hot now and getting hotter. Everything seems off or wrong and it is hard to get your bearings because so few of the old landmarks remain. It is hard to believe that some things ever happened, that certain places ever existed. Sometimes I am convinced my memory is wrong or fooling me. The idea that there might be a United States. The idea that this vast and unruly countryside, these ruined cities, these endless refugee camps, might have once been something else. If no one invades us now and only some countries send food and aid, it is only because they too are under stress. Or because we are so fucked up and so many of us have so many weapons. Somewhere in the lost places, there are still nukes, too. Jeff VanderMeer’s “Trump Land.”

* SF Cities Beyond Blade Runner.

* Graverobbing the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

* Source map from the first great comic book crossover.

* TGIF!

* Oh, this was so brutal to read. There but for the grace of God go I at least for now.

Here are my vitals: I have more than $200,000 in student loans and $46,000 in credit card debt—all accumulated during my B.A., M.A., and Ph.D., and then search for a tenure-track job. My annual salary translates to a little more than $3,000 in monthly take-home pay. I pay $800 a month in rent, $1,100 in credit card bills (paying only the monthly minimums), $350 in student loans, and have $285 a month car payment. I also pay the usual insurances, utilities, groceries, gas, et al. I don’t have cable. Or a kitchen table. Or blinds on any of my windows. I’ve cancelled all magazine and newspaper subscriptions—an actual dilemma for a journalism professor. For my first year in Bangor I didn’t even have a bed. Instead I slept on a Target air mattress until it lost its breath; then I moved to the couch (which I had purchased on credit), until my back finally demanded I buy a bed (credit, again).

* And of course you had me at A New Deep Space Nine Documentary Reveals What Would Have Happened in Season Eight. Here’s another good writeup.

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