Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Guy Fawkes

Sunday Links

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* Why they occupy: University of California edition.

* The recession comes home to Morris County.

Morris County has experienced a sharp increase in motor vehicle burglaries throughout 2011, according to Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi, who said the increase can be attributed to independent trends that have emerged in small geographic areas in the county at different times and committed by different individuals.

* MetaFilter has your Neil deGrasse Tyson Overdrive.

* Get me Val Kilmer: Christian Bale says he’s done playing Batman.

* Alan Moore on Occupy.

“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.”

cf. Frank Miller.

* Also on the Occupy beat: “Pre-Occupied: The Origins and Future of Occupy Wall Street.” And also at the New Yorker: Was anti-Keystone activism the real political movement of 2011?

* Something Is Happening: Notes on the First Two Months of Occupy.

* Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know about Orgasm.

* Aaron Bady: “When everything that can be recorded is recorded, our means of protecting privacy must fundamentally change.”

* Robotic prison wardens to patrol South Korean prison. But the prototype looks so friendly!

Monday Night Links

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* The Dude—not Jeff Bridges, the original—visits Occupy LA. Aaron Bady has been all over Occupy Oakland. Chemical bomb tossed into Occupy Maine. MTV will air “True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street” on Guy Fawkes Day. China is banning searches for “Occupy X.” And the tents come to Duke.

* Angus Johnston: “University of California Faculty Group Supports OWS, Silent on Student Protest at Home.”

* American exceptionalism: the death penalty in decline.

Capital punishment laws are on the books in 91 countries, but only 23 of them carried out any executions last year. The U.S. executed 46 people last year, and 37 so far this year — more than any other country, except for the dictatorships of China, North Korea, Iran, and Yemen. In most parts of the modern world, the practice appears to be in steep decline. Since 1976, a total of 123 countries have effectively abolished the death penalty as a barbaric legacy of the past. All signs point to an unmistakable downward trend, says Mario Marazziti, co-founder of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. “There is worldwide growth of a new moral standard of decency and of respect for human rights,” he said, “even the rights and lives of those who may have committed severe crimes.”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Monday finalized a landmark settlement with Google in which the company has agreed to be audited for its privacy practices for the next 20 years.

* Vancouver to end homelessness by 2015.

* Wikileaks is broke. More here.

* 62% of Americans want to eliminate the Electoral College.

* And Flavorwire has your Surprising Hobbies of Famous Authors.

Franz Kafka apparently had an enormous collection of pornography, ranging from the run-of-the-mill (“girl-on-girl action”) to the more obtuse (“animals committing fellatio”). We imagine Franz as a meek, self-conscious man with a mind working a mile a minute, so we guess this makes sense, but we have to admit we’re surprised all the same.

I really feel as though I’m not surprised at all by this.

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

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Remember remember the fifth of November.

* Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Michele Bachmann has her party primed and ready to go; how are you celebrating?

* Ezra Klein, with an assist from the CBO, tackles the Republican health care “plan.”

The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It’s already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It’s already made its compromises with reality. It’s already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans. The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.

This is a major embarrassment for the Republicans. It’s one thing to keep your cards close to your chest. Republicans are in the minority, after all, and their plan stands no chance of passage. It’s another to lay them out on the table and show everyone that you have no hand, and aren’t even totally sure how to play the game. The Democratic plan isn’t perfect, but in comparison, it’s looking astonishingly good.

* Will New Hampshire become the first state to break the streak on marriage equality? Allow me to repeat myself: I’m pessimistic but hopeful; minority civil rights shouldn’t be subject to popular vote.

* But I think what makes [Inglourious Basterds] Tarantino’s best film, actually, is not just that he’s finally found an argument to put his obsessive film-nerd intertextuality in service of, but because it’s a good argument: by making his movie a deconstruction of the WWII-movie genre,**** he makes it about the ways that cinematic project retroactively placed coherent meaning (“the good war”) on a thing which was actually unthinkable and nonsensically violent and destructive. And because they did it by transforming history into myth, by reveling in fantasies of the past as meaningful and coherant, he can avoid getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of actual causes and causation, making a virtue of his total inability to bother with any of that stuff. Tarantino’s movie, in other words, has much more in common with Slaughterhouse Five than the movies it was actually responding to, but while Vonnegut insisted on the horrible subjective experience of violence’s senselessness, I think Tarantino’s movie is (on some level) about how an objective truth can be imposed on our subjectivities, how we come to believe that the war was, in fact, a good one.

* How polluted is China?

* Will anti-intellectual habits and authoritarian administrative practices kill Wikipedia?

Written by gerrycanavan

November 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm