Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘faith in the free market

Happy MLK Day Links

leave a comment »

American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago. The average white child in America attends a school that is 77 percent white, and where just 32 percent of the student body lives in poverty. The average black child attends a school that is 59 percent poor but only 29 percent white. The typical Latino kid is similarly segregated; his school is 57 percent poor and 27 percent white. Via MeFi.

* Tim Wise on the disappearance of the real MLK.

So we compartmentalize the non-violence message, much as we compartmentalize books about Dr. King and the movement in that section of the bookstore established for African American History; much as we have compartmentalized those streets named for the man: locating them only in the blackest and often poorest parts of town.

Were this tendency to render King divisible on multiple levels — abstracting non-violence from justice, colorblindness from racial equity, and public service from radical social transformation — merely an academic matter, it would hardly merit our concern. But its impact is greater than that. Our only hope as a society is to see the connections between the issues King was addressing and our current predicament, to see that what affects part of the whole affects the greater body, to understand that racism and racial inequity must be of concern to us all, because they pose risks to us all.

* But let us never forget that the civil rights movement was completely unnecessary in the first place; a “truly free market” would have ended segregation on its own.

* Martin Luther King in science fiction.

* Why we can’t have nice things: Jon Hamm is just too damn old to play Superman.

* Schwarzenegger says being governor cost him 200 million dollars. You’re welcome, California.

* When assassins get results: Arizona law could force Gabrielle Giffords out of her seat within months.

* The Edge Question 2011: What scientific concept would improve everyone’s toolkit? There are some good nominations, but for a twenty-first century civilization teetering on the brink of ecological suicide there’s only one right answer: TANSTAAFL.

* Towns for losers: the highway’s jammed with broken heroes fleeing the ruins of New Jersey. Let’s hope Chris Christie isn’t next to make the big move to D.C.

* And naturally you had me at Soviet workplace safety posters. Via MeFi.

Friday Night!

with 2 comments

* At long last: A third Bill & Ted movie? I hope they motion-captured George Carlin.

* Progressives catch a break: Obama has put Elizabeth Warren in charge of setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

* Wikipedia’s massive list of misconceptions. Via AskMetaFilter.

* Grist and the Los Angeles Times interview Matthew Kahn, author of Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future. Spoiler alert: the market will fix everything.

Q. You seem to see this all as a market problem. To me, 10 million Bangladeshis who can’t feed themselves anymore and are crossing the border into India where they’re not wanted — that’s a humanitarian and political problem. How does an entrepreneur innovate for that?

A. In India, many households benefit from access to cheap labor. Migrants to India will move to those cities where they will have the greatest opportunities. One could imagine a win-win, where the growing Indian middle class is actually happy to see many of these Bangladeshis if they need help with household chores.

But I agree with your point that adaptation in the developing world is the trickiest. My magic bullet is economic development. The Nobel laureate Tom Schelling contrasts malaria in Singapore and Malaysia. These countries are very close and have the same geographic conditions. Yet one [Malaysia] has much more malaria than the other. Schelling argues that economic development helps to mitigate environmental challenges through things like better diets and better access to medical care.

In some ways stage three climate denial is the worst.

* And this year’s must-attend conference: Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right: First Annual Catholic Conference on Geocentrism. More here. Via Alex and MeFi.

Monday’s Child Has Learned to Tie His Bootlace

with 2 comments

* First Pluto, now this. They can have my triceratops when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

* In a “historic crossover,” the costs of solar photovoltaic systems have declined to the point where they are lower than the rising projected costs of new nuclear plants, according to a paper published this month.

* Charlie Stross: …I postulate that the organization required for such exploration is utterly anathema to the ideology of the space cadets, because the political roots of the space colonization movement in the United States rise from taproots of nostalgia for the open frontier that give rise to a false consciousness of the problem of space colonization. In particular, the fetishization of autonomy, self-reliance, and progress through mechanical engineering — echoing the desire to escape the suffocating social conditions back east by simply running away — utterly undermine the program itself and are incompatible with life in a space colony (which is likely to be at a minimum somewhat more constrained than life in one of the more bureaucratically obsessive-compulsive European social democracies, and at worst will tend towards the state of North Korea in Space).

In other words: space colonization is implicitly incompatible with both libertarian ideology and the myth of the American frontier. Worth noting, as some of Stross’s commenters do, that there was a fairly large organized state apparatus supporting westward expansion too, including the railroads and military-backed “Indian removal”…

* The free market! What can’t it do?

“The bottom line is: I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules,” [Rand] Paul said at a recent campaign stop in response to questions about April’s deadly mining explosion in West Virginia…“You live here, and you have to work in the mines. You’d try to make good rules to protect your people here. If you don’t, I’m thinking that no one will apply for those jobs.”

* Robert Reich: Why We Really Shouldn’t Keep the Bush Tax Cut for the Wealthy. I can’t believe this is even being argued about. Weren’t we at Debt Con 1 just a few days ago?

* And North Carolina in the news! Former federal prosecutor practiced on suspended law license.

Tabdump #4

with 2 comments

* How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.

* George Costanza’s Frogger Record Shattered.

* ‘Scientists say dolphins should be treated as “non-human persons.”‘

* If you missed it, more on the Californication of America from Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, and Steve Benen.

* In defense of baby selling? You couldn’t write a better parody of free market ideology if you tried.

* Today’s lesson in irony is especially schadenfreudelicious.

* Behold, chess boxing. More here.

Big Names

leave a comment »

Let’s talk about famous people.

* Larry David is waiting for November 4.

* Scott McClellan gives Barack Obama the kiss of death.

* Alan Greenspan’s lost his faith.

* Will Ferrell returns to Saturday Night Live.

* And Stephen King again finds himself confronted by one of his own creations.